Some IHEC Blog readers and many of my friends and colleagues in the field know that I sometimes like to take a different look at the Open Doors data (and sometimes a much more in depth look at the data) and post what I find. Sometimes I hope my posts lead to further dialogue and debate in our field and sometimes my intent is simply to provide data that, most likely, is not presented in other places. This post today probably falls under the later but I could be wrong.
Following are the bottom eleven U.S. states* receiving international students during the 2010-11 academic year:
#41 New Mexico
#42 New Hanpshire
#44 West Virginia
#47 South Dakota
#50 Vermont (article "Vermont's modest global draw" in the Burlington Free Press)
This list really doesn't say much but it would be interesting to go through the Open Doors data from the past several years and compare the lists to see ifwe can gain any insight into why these states comprise the bottom fifth of U.S. states receiving international students in 2010-11 and if they have historically fallen in the bottom fifth. While a historical and comparative review might provide some insight I think more analysis of additional variables is necessary to fully understand why this is the case. Know the total number of higer education institutions in each state would certainly be helpful but I think looking back to see if these states have issued state proclamations in support of international education, which may lead to resource allocation in an effort to market the state as a study abroad destination for international students. Four states from this group of eleven issued a proclamation in support of International Education Week 2010. Another indication of state level support for international education and valuing international students is to see if these states have established (and hopefully active) consortium working to highlight the state as a study destination for international students. To my knowledge, of these eleven states only West Virginia has established such a consortium called Study West Virginia at http://studywv.org/. Update Nov. 17th: The State of Mississippi also has an established consortium focused on bringing international students to the State. Study Mississippi has a website http://studymississippi.us AND they are on Twitter at @studyMS. Another colleague on Twitter reports that she is working to establish Study New Hampshire and that Study Vermont USA has recently been established.
I posted this list of bottom receiving states last night to IHEC Blog's Facebook page and a colleague, Lori Sjokolade, left a very interesting comment/observation about one reason these states may be the bottom receiving schools. Lori makes the point that:
"one thing these states have in common is that they are all EPSCoR states. No surprise that these states rank the lowest since science and engineering are amongst the top fields that international students choose to study in the United States and these states are amongst those that have been identified as needing help in boosting their science and engineering competitiveness."I hadn't even though about this aspect but I think this is a very valid point.
What are your thoughts about any of this?
*51 total includes all 50 U.S. States and Washington D.C.
Source for state spedific data and ranking available on the 2011 Open Doors site