Competing in the IELP Marketplace
In April 2014, The EvoLLLution focused a week-long Mini Feature on the Competing in the International English Language Program Marketplace.
As the numbers of traditional-age students decline across the United States, higher education leaders are scrambling to find new student markets to access and capitalize on. One market that has been flying under the radar for decades is the international student marketplace, and one way to bring these students into the institution is by offering robust language education.
But is competing in this market as easy as setting up an English language program geared towards international students?
Benefits and Challenges of International English Education
International English language programs can provide institutions with new pathways to enroll the growing numbers of international students looking to earn a degree from an American institution.
International English language programs cannot be made successful overnight; they require dedicated management and careful consideration for the elements that make these programs unique.
Roadblocks to Competing in the International Forum
Institutions must be mindful of the unique and specific needs of international students when they develop IELPs, and cannot assume that simply having the program will lead to increased enrollment.
The international student marketplace is highly lucrative but, for the most part, American postsecondary institutions have not developed the necessary infrastructure or systems to adequately compete.
New Entrants to the English Education Marketplace
English language MOOCs are not intended to replace IELPs, but rather work with them to create robust and all-encompassing hybrid learning opportunities for international students.
English writing MOOCs offer students from across the world the opportunity to write and think in English without the pressure of grades and degrees.
IELPs at American universities and domestic English-language learning centers currently dominate the English education market in the Global South, but growing online options and improved technologies could soon change that.
Developing Strong International English Language Programs
Robust approaches to international marketing, the infrastructure to manage a unique population of international students and high-quality and enthusiastic staff are all critical elements of building a successful English language program.
The international demand for English language programs is very high, but institutions must be prepared to invest heavily in their IELP infrastructure if they hope to be successful.
Institutions in the United States are sought after by international students due to their reputations and the capacity for a degree from an American institution to later assist in a job search.
Standing Out and Succeeding in the International Marketplace
There are a number of niches within the IELP marketplace, but some may be best suited for private corporations to access.
The international English language marketplace is diverse and highly competitive, requiring institutions to come up with new and unique approaches to recruitment.