Global Reputation Draws International Talent to U.S. Schools
Wednesday, May 14, 2014
While many parents in the United States feel uncertain – or even disdainful of higher education in the U.S., the same is not true of parents from other nations. In fact, a recent HSBC survey found that parents across the globe consider U.S. universities among the most attractive choices for their college-bound children. The report surveyed more than 4,500 parents in 15 countries and concluded, "Despite the rapid growth of China and India in recent years, parents still hold the Western education system in highest regard."
Among those surveyed, the United States, the U.K. and Germany were considered the top three university destinations in the world. Fifty-one percent of respondents ranked the U.S. in their top three for quality of education, where as the U.K. appeared in the top three on only 38 percent of responses and Germany on just 27 percent.
But U.S. parents are less enthusiastic about the quality of American higher ed than their global counterparts: 37 percent of believe the country's education system is worse than the best higher ed in other countries. According to the HSBC report, only 33 percent of American parents think the quality of U.S. education is better than the best overseas higher ed.
Among the U.S. parents surveyed, Japan’s education system was highest ranked, followed by the United States. China taking was given the no. 3 spot by American respondents. Chinese parents offered a similar sense of “the grass is always greener,” voting U.S. universities as the best in the world. Meanwhile 44 percent of Chinese respondents indicated a belief that their own country’s higher ed was worse than that of other countries.
"Parents in the USA and China rate each other's educational systems highly," the report said. "Over seven in 10 (73 percent) Chinese parents put USA in their top three, with 39 percent of parents in the USA thinking the same about Chinese education."
Overall, parents from around the world embrace the notion of sending children overseas for a university education; according to the survey, nearly three-quarters of all respondents say they would consider it. Asian parents are particularly enthusiastic, Indonesian parents the most so, with over 90 percent willing to consider the option.
Such a positive global view of American universities explains how so much scientific and business talent arrives in the United States to begin with. It also invites scrutiny of how little the U.S. does in terms of trying to keep and retain such talent. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recently put some new regulations on the table that would go some distance in attracting and keeping highly-skilled immigrants in the country. While an important first step, business and community leaders agree that true immigration reform needs to be more broadly based – especially in an era where American business and science has to compete for talent at a global level.