Colleges and universities across the U.S. face low enrollments as more high school students choose to enter the workforce without getting a degree and as the number of high school graduates shrinks. My university faces the same challenges, and we are exploring options to ensure that we stay relevant and viable in the 21st century.

One way colleges can gain enrollment is to target more adult students by offering flexible class schedules, more online options and additional support such as childcare. Secondly, we must partner with our local and regional business community to meet their workforce needs. A third approach is to build stronger partnerships with foreign universities and colleges.

Although many universities have study abroad programs that were established long ago, it is prudent to start developing new partnerships and collaborations that take international alliances to a new level. It is becoming necessary for even regional universities like mine to venture into global markets.

Bringing international students to the U.S. helps foster a diverse campus environment and enriches our learning ecosystem with new perspectives. International students are a significant source of revenue for U.S. colleges and universities, as they often pay full tuition and fees. According to a report by the NAFSA: Association of International Educators, international students studying in the U.S. contributed a total of $33.8 billion to the economy during the 2021-2022 academic year. This figure includes tuition and living expenses, as well as the economic activity generated by the students' off-campus spending and the jobs created by their presence in the country. In addition, many international students contribute to the U.S. economy after graduation by working for American companies or starting their own businesses, further boosting economic growth.

Forging partnerships with international institutions is a win-win for students in the U.S. and abroad. Students in the U.S. meet and attend classes with international students and faculty, which allows them to learn about different cultures. Students from abroad are introduced to U.S. students and faculty and all the opportunities that our country offers.

Read the full article about international partnerships for higher education by Daniel A Wubah at Forbes.