Why is that a problem?

December 5, 2022 by Dean Hoke: In the newest edition of the 2022 Open Doors Report, US university’s international student enrollment shows encouraging signs. International students coming to the United States are reported at 948,519, which nears the pre-pandemic level. However, the number of Americans studying abroad in 2020-21 was 14,549 compared to 162,633 in 2019-20 and the high watermark of 350,000 in 2018-19.

The chart below shows how long US students study overseas.

Of the 350,000 students in 2018-19 who studied overseas, the majority either studied abroad for a summer or a short term.

What is the profile of the American student who studies abroad?

The number of US students who study abroad represents only 2.7% of the American university students who attend four-year and above institutions. Students who study abroad tend to be juniors or seniors in undergraduate school, female, Caucasian, have financial means, and study in Europe.

What countries have the largest number of students studying abroad?

T.I.M.E. Association, located in France, conducted a study in 2021 of UNESCO mobility data which reported 5.6 million international students worldwide to determine the top countries with the most outgoing students studying in another country. They looked at the “long-term mobility of students to complete a whole study cycle and acquire a degree (Bachelor, Master or PhD) abroad. The top countries university students leave to study abroad are:

  • China – 993,367
  • India – 375,055
  • Germany – 122,538
  • Viet Nam – 108.527
  • South Korea – 101,774
  • France – 99,488
  • United States – 84,349 (long-term studies)

Students from other countries study abroad primarily due to the:

  • Future Employment Opportunities, be it at home or abroad
  • Quality of institution and program
  • Meet a diverse range of people
  • Study and learn differently
  • Self-reliance and being on your own
  • Meeting new friends and lifelong networking
  • Seeing your culture from a different point of view

How important are students studying abroad to the business community as future employees?

Businesses worldwide are putting a higher emphasis on international experience. Most big and small companies are trying to attract business and partnerships with international partners.  In a 2014 survey titled U.S. Business Needs for Employees with International Expertise, 800 executives in US companies were surveyed to identify the demand for corporate employees with international competence, including international skills and/or knowledge of foreign languages and world areas. The results of the 2014 survey call for a continuing need for international business education in the US, with increased emphasis on intercultural communication, foreign language skills, and international experience. The 800 represented a broad cross-section of Industries and the number of employees.

Some interesting facts come out:

  • 39% failed to fully exploit international business opportunities due to insufficient internationally competent personnel in the past five years
  • 39% have no foreign offices, and all international operations are handled in the US
  • 43% state that overall business would increase a great deal if more international expertise were available on staff
  • 60% state that an appreciation for cross-cultural differences is of great importance for professional staff, followed by Understanding country legal and government requirements (59%) and understanding of local markets and business practices (58%)
  • 83% state their company will place a greater emphasis on international competence among management and employees over the next ten years

Additional studies support that studying abroad helps employers and helps students get jobs. In 2016, The Institute for the International Education of Students (IES), founded in 1950, conducted a comprehensive survey of 1205 of its alumni. 

Here are the key points from the study:

  • 93% who entered the workforce were employed within six months
  • 89% of those who entered graduate school earned admissions in their first or second-choice school
  • 50% felt that their IES Abroad Program experience helped them to get this first job

The American Passport Project

How can we encourage and support students to study abroad?

In a recent interview with Higher Ed Without Borders  (in which I am a co-host), we asked Dr. Allan Goodman, CEO of the IIE, about a new program they established in 2021 titled The American Passport Project. Dr. Goodman commented that studying abroad is one of the best ways that students can acquire global skills and create personal and professional opportunities. Furthermore, it’s a part of IIE’s mission to increase participation and diversity in studying abroad and extend these benefits to all students regardless of socioeconomic status.  However, students of limited financial means find it more difficult to participate in studying abroad due to financial hurdles, which could bar them from moving forward.

The American Passport Project plans to have enabled 10,000 students to be awarded passports by the end of this decade. IIE will help 1,000 college students obtain U.S. passports annually by awarding funds to 40 U.S. colleges and universities in the IIE Network. Each institution will identify 25 of its first-year students who are eligible for Pell grants. Eligibility will be limited to first-year students to ensure that they have ample time remaining in their college career and receive guidance from their advisors to map out a study abroad plan. Competitive institutions will demonstrate grant need, support obtained, and impact on study abroad participation.

First Year Results

  • In the inaugural year, nearly 200 institutions applied for the grant to support students obtaining U.S. passports. These institutions informed IIE of the various ways they could utilize the grant to support targeted student populations.
  • Forty institutions were selected, and more than 50% of institutions chosen represent minority-serving student populations (HBCU, HSI, MSI) or are community colleges.
  • Nearly 50% of U.S. states are represented (33% South, 32% Midwest, 25% Northeast, and 10% West).
  • The majority are expanding their diversity, equity, access, and inclusion efforts by targeting these top 4 student populations: students with demonstrated financial need, racial/ethnic minorities, students who have never traveled abroad, and first-generation students.

In a follow-up interview with Lindsay Calvert, IIE’s lead for the Passport Project, I asked about the program’s status and the number of students approved by IIE as of November 2022.

  • One thousand one hundred twenty-two students have been nominated by their awarding institutions and approved by IIE to be supported with the IIE-granted funds to help them obtain their U.S. passport and engage them in study abroad planning.
    • 778 students from the first cohort
  • 344 from the second cohort)
  • Some institutions can quickly able to identify, nominate, and confirm students. Others have been challenged with their outreach and recruitment, so this process can span over a year to fulfill the goal of 25 students per campus.
  • Since the Passport Project aims to support first-year students, they anticipate them to study abroad in the 2023/24 academic year and subsequent years of their undergraduate term.

The Senator Paul Simon Study Abroad Program

In November 2022, The Senator Paul Simon Study Abroad Program Act of 2022 , was introduced by U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) and U.S. Representatives Cheri Bustos (D-Ill.) and John Katko (R-N.Y.) The act seeks to expand access to study abroad for U.S. college students by enhancing the State Department’s Increase and Diversify Education Abroad for U.S. Students (IDEAS) program and formally renaming it as the “Senator Paul Simon Study Abroad Program.” Inspired by the vision of the late Sen. Paul Simon (D–Ill.) and the recommendations of the congressionally-appointed Commission on the Abraham Lincoln Study Abroad Fellowship Program, the legislation would advance four national goals:   

  1. One million U.S. college students will study abroad annually for credit
  2. Study abroad participants will more closely represent the demographics of the undergraduate population in terms of gender, ethnicity, students with disabilities, income level, and field of study
  3. A significantly greater proportion of study abroad will occur in nontraditional destinations outside Western Europe  
  4. Higher education institutions will make studying abroad a critical component of a quality higher education

U.S. higher education institutions could apply for federal grants, individually or in a consortium, to help them institute programs that would move the country toward achieving these objectives. 


I have long wondered why so few Americans go overseas to study, even for a summer. Aren’t they seeing the benefits that students from other countries see? Are they not aware that by studying abroad, they increase their chances of graduation and employment? Perhaps most university students are unaware of studying overseas or believe they can’t afford the cost or cannot give up a part-time job to be away for the summer.

Organizations like IIE are helping address increasing study abroad opportunities with its American Passport Program by emphasizing minorities and non-elite schools. The proposed Simon bill also helps address the issue and pushes for a million students to study abroad, but it remains to be seen if it will pass. It will take bi-partisan support and a higher public profile to get through the upcoming Congress. Last and not least are higher education institutions themselves. While the larger state institutions and elite privates have programs and resources to help promote study abroad, that is not necessarily the case with thousands of other colleges and universities. While most schools have international affairs offices, they need more personnel and budget to adequately promote or financially support students. Their priority in fundraising for such programs is lower than other needs.

We need businesses that will benefit from these students and federal and state governments to help promote and partially subsidize. If companies and governments want to compete for an increasing share of international business successfully, they need employees who have spent time abroad.

Dean Hoke is Co-Founder and Managing Partner Edu Alliance a higher education consulting firm located in Bloomington, Indiana and Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Dean received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Urbana University in Ohio, his Master of Science from The University of Louisville, and a graduate of the Wharton School of Business Executive Management program. Since 1975 Dean has worked in the higher education and broadcasting industry, serving in senior leadership roles specializing in international education, marketing, communications, partnerships, and online learning.

He currently serves as Chairperson Elect of the American Association of University Administrators , Advisory Board of the School of Education, Franklin University and is Co-Host of the Podcast series Higher Ed Without Borders  and Distance Learning Roundtable. Dean is actively engaged in consulting projects in international education, branding, business intelligence, and online learning leading projects in the United States, the Middle East, Africa, and Asia. Dean resides in Bloomington, Indiana


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As we enter the holiday season, we recommend you tune in to  Higher Ed Without Borders. We now have the 2022 audio podcast season available, including 14 complete episodes. In addition, we have created five video highlight programs on our YouTube Channel. The series is a production of Edu Alliance.

Also, we are proud to announce that in December and January, five new episodes are being produced.  Our last episode for the 2022 season will be with Dr. Chris Howard, Executive Vice President and COO of Arizona State University.

In January 2023, Dean Hoke and Tom Davisson will co-host a four-part mini-series titled Small College America. Scheduled guests will be:
Dr. Barry Ryan, President of Woodbury University, California
Ryan Smith, President, University of Rio Grande, Ohio
Dr. Stefanie Niles, President of Cottey College, Missouri
Dr. Janelle Vanasse, President of Alaska Pacific University, Alaska  

The YouTube series currently has 6 video highlights, with more to come. They include:
Dr. Ehab Abdel Rahman, Provost of The American University in Cairo
Dr. Allan Goodman, Chief Executive Officer of the Institute of International Education Part 1
Dr. Allan Goodman, Chief Executive Officer of the Institute of International Education Part 2
Dr. Jim Henderson, President of the University of Louisiana System
Dr. Mariët Westermann, Vice-Chancellor of New York University, Abu Dhabi
Dr. Frank Dooley, Chancellor of Purdue University Global

Guest for the 2022 season includes:
Elliott Masie, founder of MASIE Innovations 
Dr. Cynthia Jackson Hammond, President of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation
Dr. Peter Wells. Chief of the Section for Higher Education at UNESCO, Paris
Dr. Samantha Alvis, Senior Advisor for Higher Education for USAID 
Dr. Matthew Wilson, Dean, and President of Temple University Japan Campus
Dr. Tarek Sobh, President of Lawrence Technological University
Dr. Tony Chan, President of King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Saudi Arabia 
Dr. Gil Latz, Vice Provost for Global Strategies and International Affairs, The Ohio State University
Dr. Mariët Westermann, Vice-Chancellor of New York University, Abu Dhabi
Dr. Jim Henderson, President of the University of Louisiana System
Dr. Allan Goodman, Chief Executive Officer of the Institute of International Education
Dr. Frank Dooley, Chancellor of Purdue University Global
Dr. Ehab Abdel Rahman, Provost of The American University in Cairo

Feel free to let us know if you have any questions or comments. Happy Holiday Season to you and your loved ones.

Dean Hoke and Dr. Senthil Nathan
Edu Alliance Group and Co-Hosts of Higher Ed Without Borders


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When transcribing Spanish audio to English text, there are a few tips you should keep in mind. First, be sure to make your transcription legible. This will help readers read it, even if you are not a native Spanish speaker. Second, be sure to use the proper formatting.

Choose a Platform for Native and Non-native Speakers

With the increasing use of audiovisual content, the demand for Spanish transcription services is growing. The language is an important part of the global marketplace, with over 400 million native speakers in Latin America alone. A Spanish transcription service can help businesses connect with this audience and grow their business. Spanish transcription services are usually classified into two categories: general information transcription and industry-specific transcription, which includes legal transcripts.

A Spanish transcription will be read by both native and non-native speakers. A native speaker can catch accents and be more likely to understand words and phrases from the source language. A simple learner might only be able to understand a few key phrases and words. A native speaker will also be able to deliver a higher-quality transcription.

If you are a beginner in Spanish and are looking for a fun way to learn the language, try to look for platforms with good reviews. Most of them have features with conversations with Spanish speakers about current news stories. Each episode is unscripted and entertaining, and the hosts repeat words to help you learn more about the language. Each episode includes a free Spanish transcript, and some even include extra practice exercises that can improve your pronunciation.

Using Angled Brackets

Angled brackets are a great punctuation tool in the English language. There are many types of brackets, including square, curly, and typical parentheses. These brackets are used to place text inside another text. Using them effectively allows you to convey meaning and style in both written and spoken English. When translating audio from one language to another, you must use appropriate punctuation to separate the two scripts. For example, you should use square or angled brackets to set off characters from the original script. However, these conventions can differ between authors.

Using Curly Brackets

There are several reasons to use curly brackets when translating audio files. One of these reasons is that these brackets look better than straight ones. For instance, the curly brackets will make the audio text look more elegant when translating a Spanish audio file. A curly bracket is a pointy bracket delimited by an opening and closing curly bracket. It has many uses in math, computer programming, and music. You’ll be able to use curly brackets in some different languages. Audio translation is a great way to learn a new language. The process of translating Spanish to English is more straightforward when you can hear the speaker. You can also use this technique when translating a video or audio file. However, you’ll need a high-quality software tool to get the job done. This way, you’ll get a translation that is as accurate as possible without losing the integrity of the original audio.



September 6, 2022 by Dean Hoke – The percentage of students without a post-secondary degree in the United States has been a widespread concern for decades. Employment at a decent working wage did exist for those who did not have a degree however that world is quickly changing. This topic has been of interest to me for over 50 years because I am one of those who dropped out of college.

I started attending university in the Fall of 1968 and it took me until June 1975 to complete my bachelor’s degree. I attended two universities and dropped out twice before coming back and finishing.  I thought in early 1969 when I left the university, I didn’t have the academic ability to get a degree and my university advisor certainly was not supportive and suggested I should go sign up for military service that day.

I did go back to another smaller university six months later and though I had pauses due to those challenges everyone has in life I finished with a bachelor’s degree six years later. Upon graduation, I started immediately after commencement at a small university in Kentucky as an admissions officer and completed my master’s in a relativity short amount of time while working.

With that in mind, I have always wondered how we get dropouts back to school and finish their degree. Employers, government, and adults all believe it’s needed, and it has financial benefits for all. Yet nearly 40 million people from the age of 18-64 started higher education and did not complete one degree. I am presenting my initial thoughts and I would ask for your thoughts on how to address this question.

US Labor Market

According to the Federal Reserve Bank of Saint Louis, the US Civilian Work Force from 25-34 as of June 2022 has the following educational attainment

The Harsh Facts on College Dropouts

American higher education overall has 39 million people with  Some College, No Credential (SCNC) as of July 2020 according to the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center.  The most recent study dated 2017 shows the following:

  • 30% of first-year students drop out before their second year of college.
  • 58.5% of students who started in community college after 6 years have not obtained any degree or certificate (1,071,720 students from students starting in 2011)
  • 32.6% of students who started at a four-year institution after 6 years have not obtained any degree or certificate. (730,556 students starting in 2011)

According to Forbes Nov. 2021 article titled “Shocking Statistics About College Graduation Rates”

  • Nearly 1 million students drop out each year.
  • More than two-thirds of college dropouts are low-income students, with family-adjusted gross income (AGI) under $50,000.
  • Full-time employment reduces graduation rates.Students who work a full-time job during the school year are half as likely to graduate with a bachelor’s degree, as compared with students who work 12 hours or less a week. Every additional hour of work beyond 12 hours a week reduces graduation rates. Working a full-time job takes too much time away from academics.

The reasons why are not surprising but still distressing.

Source: Hanson, Melanie. “College Dropout Rates”, June 17, 2022,

Economic Impact

According to the 2020 US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average wage earned by a person by education level looks like this.

One statistic that stands out is the percentage of the income difference between a 4-year degree vs a person with a two-year degree person is $19,288 a 38.5% increase.

As the United States’ employment needs quickly change, industry and government have a pressing need for more qualified workers. In the publication HR Drive titled“Employers are hiring, but 80% say they can’t find skilled candidates”  More than 82% of employers said they’re actively hiring, despite predictions of an economic downturn, according to a survey of 150 HR leaders by Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc. 80% of the respondents, however, reported having difficulty finding workers, with 70% identifying skills shortages as the reason.

It is further reported that 43% of Challenger’s respondents reported that, although they have enough applicants, those applicants do not have the needed skills. Another 43% said they do not receive enough applicants, with 27% noting that candidates who do apply are not qualified. “The labor market remains tight and employers are reporting skills shortages in almost every area, including in STEM, data analytics, human resources, finance, and operations. 

During the next decade, the need for people with advanced credentials will continue to rise. Corporations have made it clear there is a need for more qualified workers whether it’s via a traditional degree such as a bachelor’s or micro-credentials/badges which verify customized skills. A report by McKinsey projected that more than 100 million workers will need to find a different occupation by 2030. In the United States, for instance, customer service and food service jobs could fall by 4.3 million, while transportation jobs could grow by nearly 800,000. Demand for workers in healthcare and STEM occupations may grow more than before the pandemic.

How industry addresses the education of employees

In the 2019 study by the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans

Organizations use different techniques for reimbursing student employees. The most common include:

  • Tuition assistance/reimbursement (63%)
  • In-house training seminars (61%)
  • Attendance at educational conferences (51%)
  • Continuing education courses (50%)
  • Coverage for licensing courses and exams (44%)
  • Personal development courses (35%)

Looking at tuition assistance the concept by employers is not new and many have had some sort of program in place for well over 10 years.

The Society for Human Resource Management survey reports tuition assistance programs are an attractive recruiting measure, and most employees are aware of the basic benefit. However, less than 5% percent of employees participate. Of those who participate in the tuition assistance program more than 4 in 10 who are using the benefit to attend graduate school.

Large corporations such as Starbucks, Target, Walmart, and others have all implemented go-back-to-school incentive programs using various higher institutions schools with an emphasis on online degree institutions.

Example One – Starbucks

Starbucks was one of the early adopters. In 2014, Starbucks and Arizona State University (ASU) introduced the Starbucks College Achievement Plan (SCAP), which provided Starbucks’ U.S. employees the opportunity to earn their first-time bachelor’s degree with the company paying for 100% of their tuition.

in 2021, Starbucks modified the tuition reimbursement benefit by paying all tuition and fees up front, as opposed to reimbursing employees for their out-of-pocket costs later.

  • More than 20,000 Starbucks employees are currently participating in SCAP.
  • The number of employees finishing their undergraduate degrees through SCAP will reach over 8,500, with Starbucks setting a goal of 25,000 graduates by 2025.
  • There are more than one hundred different degree programs offered through the SCAP program, and Starbucks has employees enrolled in all of them.
  • Almost 20% of people who apply to work for Starbucks say that SCAP is a major reason for their decision.
  • SCAP scholars are retained by Starbucks for a 50% longer period than non-participants, and they are promoted at nearly three times the rate of those employees who do not participate

Example Two – Walmart

 In July 2021 Walmart announced it will pay for full college tuition and book costs at some schools for its US workers, the latest effort by the largest private employer in the country to sweeten its benefits as it seeks to attract and retain talent in a tight job market.

The program includes 10 academic partners ranging from the University of Arizona to Southern New Hampshire University. Participants must remain part-time or full-time employees at Walmart to be eligible. They have recently dropped a previous $ 1-a-day fee paid by Walmart and Sam’s Club workers who want to earn a degree and will begin to cover the costs of their books.

Example Three – Target

Target in August 2021 announced a  fund to support educational courses for its employees. It is similar to the Walmart program. Available to 340,000 full-time and part-time workers.

  • Cover the full cost of select undergraduate degrees, certificates, and certifications for its 340,000 U.S.-based workers.
  • Pay up to $10,000 each year for master’s programs at those institutions.
  • Allow participants to attend one of 40 partner institutions.
  • Invest more than $200 million within the next four years in the program

However, one of the issues employees are challenged by is tuition remission vs tuition assistance. It is difficult and a deterrent to potential participants to upfront costs.

Researchers who have studied tuition benefits, including Jaime S. Fall, director of UpSkill America at the Aspen Institute, and Kevin Martin, chief research officer at the Institute for Corporate Productivity, believe that frontline workers might be more likely to participate in these programs if companies moved from “tuition reimbursement” to “tuition assistance” models, where employers pay their portion of education costs upfront. Many lower-income employees—or workers of any kind—can’t afford to float tuition costs for several months while they wait to be reimbursed.

Despite these new and innovative programs, we still have millions who are not going back to school. While 80% of employees are positive about these benefits only 40% have made any investigation and only 2% have taken advantage.

Student Barriers include

  • Restricted options by degree, college choice, net cost, upfront payment before receiving reimbursement
  • Lack of knowledge of grants and loans by employers, government, and schools.
  • Student personal issues (living life and family issues)
  • Childcare options and cost
  • Fear of failure,
  • School too far away
  • The older you get the less likely you will return to school

Paths to Explore by Higher Education, Corporate, and Government

Each sector is aware of the challenge and trying different approaches to get students dropouts and get a degree.

Higher Education

  • Private and state-supported regional universities are an asset underutilized
  • Further development and refinement of quality online degree programs to encourage re-enrollment
  • Developing stronger retention programs to reduce the percentage of college dropouts
  • Expansion of Teaching and Learning Centers for their communities
  • Evening and weekend on-campus programs
  • Academic credit for life experience
  • More student-friendly transfer of credits to a new school
  • Easier for students with outstanding bills to send an academic transcript


  • More generous funding for employees to return to school. Going above the $5,200 a year tax deduction
  • The movement to paying tuition in advance by the employer rather than paying tuition in advance by the student
  • Increasing the number of majors a company will financially support
  • Opening the door for employees to have a selection of more universities including accredited private institutions
  • Establishing paid apprenticeship programs
    • An example is the IBM apprentice program which aims to hire more than 400 trainees each year, from software development to data science to human resources. The current estimated cost to the company is $65 million since 2018.
  • Improvement in communicating and encouraging employees to return to school


  • Increased priority in developing joint partnerships that incentives employment and encourage dropouts to return to school 
  • Increase current state and federal student grants program
  • Establish no-interest loans to encourage students who have previously dropped out to return to complete their undergraduate degree
  • The passing of the National Apprenticeship Act (H.R.447) which is advocated by numerous corporations

Let me expand on the role of partnerships between government, Corporate and higher education. The development of regional partnerships between government, industry, and higher education is not necessarily new. It has been used with tier one institutions such as Ohio State, the State of Ohio, and local government to entice Intel to establish a major tech center in Central Ohio.

Another recent bi-partisan proposal was introduced in August, by Rep. Jim Costa (D–Fresno) and co-sponsored by Rep. Bruce Westerman, an Arizona Republican. The bill is aimed toward four-year regional public universities in distressed areas that could receive federal grants of up to $50 million for economic and community development efforts under newly introduced bipartisan legislation.

In a press conference at Fresno State to unveil new legislation that he will put forward to Congress that would benefit up to 174 universities, Congressman Costa stated “Universities like Fresno State and many universities throughout California, but throughout the country, support community development. “They represent constituencies where we have distressed communities. They support the workforce, leading to faster employment growth, along with a higher per capita income.” 

Robert Maxim, a senior research associate at Brookings, a think tank based in Washington, D.C.  is an advocate of this type of partnership. “There are way more regional public universities in the U.S. than there are R-1s, our view is that they are really good anchor institutions to route federal investment through. They are a set of institutions that have been historically neglected and deserve a bit more attention and support from the federal government.”


I believe we need to prioritize on the group with the best chance of returning and obtaining a degree, the 25-34 age group with some college but no degree. This is 5.7 million of the overall 39 million who started college but did not finish. While we should make available any current or new programs that encourage people to return to school the 25-34-year-olds are the most likely to go back.  

The United States should emphasize the wider use of partnership programs with government and industry teaming up with state regional higher education institutions and local small town and private colleges and universities would be a valuable asset to all parties.  These schools are scattered in smaller cities across America.  Both regional state institutions and private schools come from the applied teaching traditions Many are in small towns and rural areas in which employees who wish to return for a degree have few options.  The question of cost certainly exists but I believe some form of government/industry/university partnership can effectively address the cost issues. They have space and teaching knowledge and the ability to customize local solutions.

One final thought and that is the question of will. While cost is a significant issue government, industry and schools must work in unison to get students to return and complete their education. We must remember these are second or in some cases third-chance students. They have failed in their attempts for various reasons. However, these students must overcome the fear of failure.  We must find ways to support and encourage these students to take that leap of faith and believe they can graduate.


Graduation day 1975

I have been asked why did I go back? I worked in a factory and my parent’s deli for 6 months  I felt I needed someone to test me and determine what I should do for the rest of my life. I went to the state employment bureau in my hometown to be skills tested to learn what I was best suited for. After the tests, I sat down with a lady who read the results. She told me with a smile that scared me I needed to go back to college and get a degree. Seeing I was somewhat shocked by her recommendation she stated the test revealed my hand/eye coordination was horrible and if I worked in a factory as my father did, I would seriously hurt myself. I asked her about joining the military and she commented if you went into the military, it better be an officer working behind the lines in military intelligence because I was unlikely to be much of a decent front-line soldier.  As you can see, I graduated, and my proud parents were there for the event. I later in my life suspected the lady at the employment bureau was trying to give me a slap of reality to grow up and use my brain.  

Dean Hoke is Co-Founder and Managing Partner Edu Alliance a higher education consulting firm located in Bloomington, Indiana and Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Dean received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Urbana University in Ohio, his Master of Science in Community Development from The University of Louisville, and a graduate of the Wharton School of Business Executive Management program. Since 1975 Dean has worked in the higher education and broadcasting industry, serving in senior leadership roles specializing in marketing, communications, partnerships, online learning and fund raising.

He currently serves as Chairperson Elect of the American Association of University Administrators , Franklin University and is Co-Host of the Podcast series Higher Ed Without Borders . Dean is actively engaged in consulting projects in international education, branding, business intelligence, and online learning leading projects in the United States, the Middle East, Africa, and Asia. Dean resides in Bloomington, Indiana


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On this podcast episode of Higher Ed Without Borders co-hosted by Edu Alliance Founders Dr. Senthil Nathan and Dean Hoke speak with Dr. Jim Henderson, President of the University of Louisiana System.

Dr. James Henderson, President of the University of Louisiana System, a multi-university campus system with an enrollment of approximately 90,000 students. Prior to being appointed as President of the System, Dr. Henderson served as President of Northwestern State University.  He is a native of Shreveport Louisiana. He received his Master’s in Administration from the University of West Florida, and his Doctor of Management degree from the University of Maryland – University College.

In an October 2021 newspaper article in the Acadiana Advocate, Dr. Henderson’s wife Tonia discussed her husband and love of learning. “Jim has “gone through a lot of schooling” during their marriage and he is a constant reader. He earned his master’s and doctorate while they were married. He also has routinely taken coursework where available — he oftentimes takes Massive Open Online Courses, or MOOCs — most recently one in Irish literature. “He’s always trying to learn new things,” she said.

His penchant for lifelong learning made an impact on their three children; only the youngest lives at home now. She says she gets inspired by watching him use his time so well. He allots time for work, family, and his own study.”

Senthil and Dean discussed with Dr. Henderson about the university system and his views on education and leadership.

Comments and Suggestions:

Higher Ed Without Borders would love to hear your ideas for future topics and guests. Connect with Dr. Senthil Nathan or Dean Hoke on LinkedIn. You can also visit the Edu Alliance website. To hear the entire series please subscribe to Higher Ed Without Borders on your preferred podcast platforms such as Apple, Spotify, or Google. The podcast is sponsored by Edu Alliance, an education consulting firm located in Bloomington Indiana, and Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

We assist higher education institutions worldwide on a variety of mission-critical projects. Production support was provided by White Rabbit Printing and Design.

If your organization wants to know more about how Edu Alliance can best serve you, please contact either Dean Hoke or Dr. Senthil Nathan.


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“When a leader gets better, everyone wins!”

July 5, 2022 by Dr. Candace Goodwin – Although every industry has undergone significant changes over the past several years, higher education has been impacted more profoundly. When the pandemic hit, traditional colleges and universities were abruptly forced to adapt their mindset and move toward thinking differently, scrambling to transform standard brick-and-mortar programs into online or hybrid delivery modalities. Colleges and universities that already had successful online programs could pivot quickly and sustain student enrollment. Universities unable to make these changes rapidly faced many challenges.

High education leadership teams were confronted with workforce challenges they had not faced before. The changes in the economy, staffing shortages, healthcare concerns, loss of international students, diversity, equity, and inclusion were all simultaneously impacting higher education. College leadership focused on enrollment as their highest priority and lost sight of how the pandemic influenced staff and shaped their expectations and preferences. Employees were seeking out empathy, remote work, and flexible work hours and wanted to feel more connected than ever.

As the environment of higher education leadership becomes more complicated by outside events and shifting employee motivations, the benefits of executive coaching only increase. High- quality executive coaching balances organizational priorities like enrollment with the leadership development and insight required to move those priorities forward. Executive coaching is an essential problem-solving tool for higher education executives seeking support balancing leadership challenges and understanding the higher education landscape from both the 30,000 ft elevation and the 100 ft elevation.

1. Executive coaching activates and animates wisdom.

Many executives and aspiring higher education leaders lean most heavily on their level of intelligence. Clayton (1982) defined intelligence as the ability to think logically, conceptualize, and abstract from reality. Intelligence focuses on how to do. It helps leaders accomplish and achieve.

By contrast, Clayton defines wisdom as the ability to grasp human nature, which is paradoxical, contradictory, and subject to continual change. Wisdom provokes a person to consider the consequences of their actions on themselves and the effects on others.

Wisdom helps people decide whether to pursue a course of action. Higher education executives work in concert with many others. It is incumbent on all higher education leaders to work with their wisdom.

The difference between intelligence and wisdom can be described as knowing what vs. knowing how. According to Stenberg (2005), knowing how adds creativity and experience to our knowledge. While an executive has proven intelligence, the wisdom gained by learning from various experiences provides multiple points of view at their disposal to solve problems creatively.

It is no longer sufficient to only have intelligence and management skills to make high- level and far-reaching leadership decisions. Wisdom is a crucial component of good leadership. Staudinger, Lopez, and Baltes (1997) found that individuals who discussed life problems with another person and reflected on the conversation before responding out-performed others. Executive coaching can make the difference in that kind of wisdom and more.

An executive coach for higher education helps college and university executives activate and animate their wisdom. Executive coaches guide leaders to go beyond reporting metrics and learn ways to increase their wisdom through natural reciprocity, investing in their team, and developing new leadership traits. The result is a higher education leader able to make more creative and cultured decisions that are the best for university and college leadership, staff, and students.

2. Executive coaching galvanizes conscious and intentional conversations.

There are two conversations we have every day. One is with other people—and one is in our heads. Having conversations with other people can feel fraught in this increasingly complicated world. Higher education executives need to ensure their conversations are conscious and intentional. Executive coaching can help!

Conscious conversations encourage connection and overcoming differences. The basis is hearing and understanding instead of judging as right or wrong. Participants in a conversation of this nature must be fully present, listen fully and respectfully, keep an open mind, and be patient. It is important to understand that conversations of this kind are a skill to be learned and built upon. There is always room to improve communication as a leader.

Intentional conversations are purposeful and planned. Being intentional means being strategic in how to communicate, what to communicate, and to whom. Intentional conversations can make staff members feel valued and ensure that conversations are productive.

With an executive coach, higher education executives can build confidence in their ability to have conscious and intentional conversations.

3. Executive coaching stimulates creativity.

With the landscape for higher education rapidly changing, a successful higher education executive needs to move beyond the same old, same old. It is time for creativity in all aspects of leadership. Nothing helps creativity like the collaboration that comes from partnering with an executive coach.

Most executives could benefit from switching things up and taking their leadership off auto pilot. A significant outcome could be developing a flexible mindset and considering new ways to get things done. A lack of creativity could result in missing opportunities for innovation and growth. Working with an executive coach helps open the door to explore innovative ideas and getting excited by new, creative possibilities.

4. Executive coaching creates “emotional safety.”

Having emotional safety means feeling secure enough to be your most authentic self, and isn’t that the ideal for all employee-leader scenarios? Who wouldn’t want to bring their real selves to work? Well, that takes work. Emotional safety is an important aspect of having a satisfying connection. Connection is increasingly vital to today’s workforce. It is worth the investment.

Higher education executive coaching cultivates emotional safety so executives can get the most out of their experience. Our brains constantly detect whether a situation is safe or dangerous. When people experience safety, they are better listeners, able to collaborate more, innovative, creative, and able to connect with others. Emotional safety has positive effects that flow to others.

Emotional safety encourages freedom of expression and increased compassion. A skilled executive coach can help guide you to understanding and increasing emotional safety.

Executives and leaders in higher education benefit from the investment in high-quality executive coaching. Coaching is transformative—helping leaders leverage their best selves. An executive coach empowers creativity, impact, connection, and influence. Great leaders have great coaches—everyone can use that kind of support! Especially leaders working in higher education.

Aides, Kim. “Six Reasons to Hire an Executive Coach.” Frame of Mind Coaching, 16, Nov. 2021,

Boeder, E. “Emotional Safety is Necessary for Emotional Connection” The Gottman Institute.

Clayton V. (1982). Wisdom and intelligence: the nature and function of knowledge in the later years.

International journal of aging & human development, 15(4), 315–321.

Drake, David and Webb, Peter (2018).” Coaching for Wisdom: Enabling Wise Decisions.” Research Gate, February 2018, ecisions

Levine, Arthur and Pelt, S. “The Future of Higher Education is Occurring at the Margins.” Inside Higher Education, 4, Oct. 2021, should-prepare-five-new-realities-opinion

Staudinger, U.M., Lopez, D. F., and Baltes, P. B. (1997). The psychometric location of wisdom-related performance: Intelligence, personality and more. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 23(11). 1200-1214,

Sternberg, R. J. (2005). WICS: A model of leadership. The Psychologist- Manager Journal, 8(1), 20-43.

Sternberg, R. J. (2005a). WICS: A model of leadership. The Psychologist-Manager Journal, 8(1), 20–43

Dr. Candace Goodwin a member of the Edu Alliance Group Advisory Council is a culture strategist and the CEO of Organizational Leadership Partners, an organization that helps leaders achieve exceptional results through the alignment of organizational priorities and culture. Candace’s expertise in culture, employee engagement, emotional intelligence, and leadership development provides guidance to leaders who desire to create an environment where people can do their best work.

Dr. Goodwin has a Doctorate in Organizational Leadership, an MBA in Human Resources, and a Bachelor’s degree in Finance.

Edu Alliance Group, Inc. (EAG) is an education consulting firm located in Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates, and Bloomington, Indiana, USA. We assist higher education institutions worldwide on a variety of mission-critical projects. Our consultants have accomplished university/college leaders who share the benefit of their experience to diagnose and solve challenges.

EAG has provided consulting and successful solutions for higher education institutions in Australia, Egypt, Georgia, India, Kazakhstan, Morocco, Nigeria, Uganda,  United Arab Emirates, and the United States.

Edu Alliance offers higher education institutions consulting services worldwide. If you like to know more about how Edu Alliance can best serve you, please contact Dean Hoke at 


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April 7, 2021 by Dean Hoke. To no one’s surprise, international enrollment to US universities in the Fall of 2020 dropped for thousands of post-secondary institutions due to the pandemic. It was confirmed by The Student and Exchange Visitor Program, better known as SEVIS, a part of the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), in its March 2021 annual report . Titled “SEVIS by the Numbers” they presented a bleak picture of the 2020 -21 school year.

The Breakdown

SEVIS reported a 72% decrease in new international students among the 6,914 institutions with at least one international student.   All enrollment levels in higher education in 2020 experienced a decline compared to 2019:

Associate degree 19.9% decrease

Bachelors degree 13% decrease

Masters degree 16% decrease

Doctoral degree 4.7% decrease

The top 20 most popular schools account for 18% of the overall international student population.

SEVIS by the Numbers March 2021

The five hundred higher education institutions with the highest international student populations in 2020 experienced a decline of 9.67%. Only one of the top twenty, The University of the Cumberlands, reported an increase of 13.32% (1,366 students), and only forty-eight of the top five hundred experienced an increase. The other 6,114 schools suffered an average loss of 35.69%. 

The largest international students’ losses come from China and India, which provide 590,021 of the overall international student population. China experienced a 91,936 reduction (19.38%) change compared to 2019 and India a 41,761 reduction (16.76%). The other nations experienced similar losses.

Enrollment Outlook in 2021

Common App, a non-profit membership organization representing nearly 900 higher education institutions, reports the number of international applications to its US member institutions rose 13% over last year.

While there is an increase of 13%, it seems to be concentrated in selective institutions both large and small. The less selective institutions have slightly increased or are flat. The large (10,000 and above), less selective schools show a 10% decrease.

Bridge U, an Educational Tech company based in Europe, which provides university career guidance for global secondary schools evaluated 114,597 applications by high school students who applied to US universities . They found the number of applications to US top 50 world-ranked schools increased by 4%; however, there is a decline of 11.4% of US schools not ranked in QS top 200. They also report among their constituency that Asia is down by nearly 13%. Other regions such as Central and South America are down 10% while most other areas are flat, but Europe is up by 4%.  Individual countries such as China show a 12% decrease, but India is up 9.5%.     

  It is important to point out that both reports show individual students are applying to more universities.  Bridge U reports the following:

Bridge U 2021 study

Key Takeaways

  • The international student enrollment decline for the 2020 academic year had a significant effect on the vast majority of US higher education institutions. In some cases, the combination of international and domestic student losses forced some US institutions to merge or close their doors. According to Moody’s Investor Services’ recent report, higher education will feel the adverse effect on institutional credit rating for the next several years.    
  • Schools ranked a top 200 world-ranked schools are seeing a quick recovery in undergraduate and graduate international students. Reputation does matter to international students and their parents. However, schools with a smaller international student population (less than 450)  experienced an average student loss of 36% will take much longer to return to 2019 enrollment. Many schools may not be able to regain that population back.
  • Enrollment of students from China will stay down for at least the next 2-3 years. There are various reasons, including COVID, political tension between China and the US, increased competition by other countries to recruit their students, and China encouraging their students to stay home.
  • There is an increased competition by other countries to recruit international students. The US is not the only nation with higher education institutions that experienced significant student losses. Australia, the UK, among many who have a higher economic dependency on international students, were economically hurt. The United States, while the nation with the most international students, has been experiencing a slow decline before COVID. Many countries such as Canada, Germany, the United Arab Emirates, Australia, and the UK have been developing friendlier student visa and work policies. They also are increasing marketing campaigns to undergraduate and graduate students throughout the Asia continent by offering more favorable tuition rates and job opportunities.


US higher education institutions are not out of the woods yet. While early application figures show increases in domestic students and international students, the smaller, less selected state and private schools are not seeing the same bounce. The Biden Administration needs to help higher education quickly develop new policies which are more attractive for international students both at the undergraduate and graduate level.   In my article dated January 18, 2021, titled “Starting A New Era for International Students in America,”  I presented four ideas the current administration through its agencies should consider:

  1. Biden administration set a target for annual growth of 7-10 percent in the number of international students attending US universities
  2. Develop new scholarship opportunities to attract International Students
  3. Enhanced International Recruitment and Marketing
  4. Expand Academic International Partnerships

Colleges and universities also must develop new strategies to be less dependent on China and India who provide nearly 50% of the international student population. Higher education should look at many for-profit companies who thrived on few clients for most of their revenue, and when they lose key clients soon go out of business. Universities recruiting international students primarily from one or two nations must diversify and develop a broader global student feeder system.



October 27, 2021, by Dean Hoke The National Student Clearinghouse Research Center (NSCRC), reports a decline of 3.2% in undergraduate enrollment this fall follows a similar drop of 3.4% the previous year, the first fall of the pandemic. National Public Radio quotes Doug Shapiro, who runs the nonprofit research center “It’s very frightening, Far from filling the hole of last year’s enrollment declines, we are still digging it deeper.” Shapiro says the last two years of undergrad decline, totaling more than 6%, would be the largest two-year decrease in at least half a century.

The drop in enrollment is much more than just a decline in international students or a reduction of first-time, full-time students; it is occurring in nearly all sectors.

My colleagues and I believe public, private, and for-profit higher education institutions need to conduct independent market enrollment evaluations and determine what’s working and what’s not. Too many institutions tend to cut expenses to balance the budget but don’t look at why enrollment is down now, will it continue, and what a higher learning organization can do to turn it around. You can’t add or eliminate programs or adjust other expenses without the facts. It is clear that while COVID added to the decline, it isn’t the only problem.

I am including a link from NSCRD so you can see what they directly reported.

Edu Alliance Group, Inc. (EAG) is an higher education consulting firm founded by Dr. Senthil Nathan and Dean Hoke. It is located in Bloomington, Indiana, and Abu Dhabi. We assist higher education institutions worldwide on a variety of mission-critical projects. Our consultants are accomplished university/college leaders who share the benefit of their experience to diagnose and solve challenges. We conduct market analysis such as enrollment.   and university feasibility studies to assess program demand, student interest, employer interest, occupational projections, competitive landscape of other program providers.



Bloomington, Indiana November 29, 2021 – Ed Alliance Group Managing Partner Dean Hoke announced today Shelton Bridges Jr. has been named to the Advisory Council.

Shelton Bridges Jr. is a highly experienced university administrator who for 26 years was a senior executive for the Sullivan University Systems, Inc., located in Louisville, Kentucky. He served as Vice President for Finance and the system Chief Financial Officer. Shelton was responsible for all of the institution’s financial functions for the multi campus system and an expert in strategic planning and staff development.  He served on the Reaffirmation Review Committees for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

Shelton Bridges Jr.

Prior to joining Sullivan University, Shelton worked in the corporate community serving as a Controller for the Printing House, Inc, and a member of the management team of Nationwide Health Spas, Inc. He also worked as an independent CPA, where he worked with businesses and individuals preparing audits, financial reviews, and business analytics.

He is a member of the Kentucky Society of CPAs, a Lifetime Member of the Florida Institute of CPAs, and a former member of the CFO Roundtable.  Shelton has his Bachelors’s in Accounting from Florida State University.

His areas of expertise include:

  • University Finance
  • Career Education
  • Accreditation
  • Executive Education

Mr. Hoke stated, “Mr. Bridges is a highly experienced senior university executive and finance and career education leader. He brings financial expertise in higher education multi-campus systems and is an expert in strategic planning and staff development. He is an outstanding addition to our Advisory Council, who help and support Edu Alliance Group and our clients worldwide.”

Edu Alliance Group, Inc. (EAG) is an education consulting firm located in Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates, and Bloomington, Indiana, USA. We assist higher education institutions worldwide on a variety of mission-critical projects. Our consultants are accomplished university/college leaders who share the benefit of their experience to diagnose and solve challenges.

EAG has provided consulting and successful solutions for higher education institutions in Australia, Egypt, Georgia, India, Kazakhstan, Morocco, Nigeria, Uganda,  United Arab Emirates, and the United States.

Edu Alliance offers higher education institutions consulting services worldwide. Our US office specializes in assisting universities on international projects and partnerships. If you like to know more how Edu Alliance can best serve you, please contact Dean Hoke at 



Dr. Don Hossler, a Senior Scholar at the Center for Enrollment Research, Policy, and Practice in the Rossier School of Education, at the University of Southern California. has been named to the Edu Alliance Group Advisory Council. Hossler also holds the rank of Distinguished Provost Professor Emeritus in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at Indiana University.

He has also served in several leadership roles including the vice chancellor for student enrollment services on the Bloomington campus. He is the founding executive director of the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center. Hossler has authored or co-authored 23 books and scholarly reports, more than 100 articles and book chapters. His research program has attracted support from such organizations as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Lumina Foundation for Education, Spencer Foundation, and the College Board.  He has consulted with more than 50 colleges, universities, and educational organizations including the College Board, Educational Testing Services, the Pew Charitable Trusts, the State of Maryland, and the U.S. Government Accountability Office.

He has lived in Russia and has conducted research in postsecondary education there. Hossler has received career achievement awards from the American College Personnel Association, the Association for Institutional Research, the College Board, and the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators.  In 2015 he was named a Provost Professor and received the Sonneborn Award for Outstanding Research and Teaching from Indiana University Bloomington. This is the highest award the Bloomington campus awards to its faculty members for a distinguished career of research and teaching.  He has his Bachelors degree from California Lutheran University and his Ph.D. in Higher Education from Claremont Graduate University.

“Edu Alliance is honoured to welcome Don to the Advisory Council,” said Managing Partner Dean Hoke. “His expertise in college choice, student persistence, student financial aid policy, and enrollment management adds a new level of depth to our organization and advisors who assist colleges and universities.

Edu Alliance Group, Inc. (EAG) is an education consulting firm located in Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates, and Bloomington, Indiana, USA. We assist higher education institutions worldwide on a variety of mission-critical projects. Our consultants have accomplished university/college leaders who share the benefit of their experience to diagnose and solve challenges.

EAG has provided consulting and successful solutions for higher education institutions in Australia, Egypt, Georgia, India, Kazakhstan, Morocco, Nigeria, Uganda,  United Arab Emirates, and the United States.

Edu Alliance offers higher education institutions consulting services worldwide. If you like to know more about how Edu Alliance can best serve you, please contact Dean Hoke at