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 [email protected] 

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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 [email protected] 

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 [email protected] 

January 25, 2022, by Don Hossler Philip Kotler, considered by many higher education professionals to be the Godfather of modern university admissions marketing, urged professionals in the field to consider the 4P’s when putting together a recruitment marketing plan. The 4P’s stand for:

  • Product
  • Place
  • Price
  • Promotion

However, when developing admissions marketing plans for international students, I always keep in mind the 4P’s, plus one R, and the word “courtship”.

The R stands for risk reduction. Any effort to create a targeted marketing plan for international students also has to consider the risks that students, and often their families, evaluate when they are contemplating attending a university in another country. This is true for both prospective undergraduate and graduate students. For me, the word courtship is an important consideration because we are courting these new students. And we must always keep in mind that courting a new partner from another culture, who may speak another language, adds a level of complexity to the process. Although, these are considerations for both undergraduate and graduate students some of the factors that go into the decision-making process are sufficiently different that I will focus only on undergraduates.

The 4P’s are also relevant for undergraduate international students. The majors, academic programs, and the out-of-class experience are an essential part of the product that any university offers. College rankings are important in the United States and even more important to students from other countries. Whether we like it or not, our ranking is part of our product. And an institution’s ranking is also an important part of risk reduction for international students. The place is another factor that gets careful consideration. How far is my institution from the home of this international student? For decades, universities located in metropolitan areas were more attractive to many international undergraduate students. The idea of being in a large city with many cultural opportunities was attractive. However, with growing concerns about personal safety, some students and their families may prefer being located in a small town where crime rates are lower, and personal safety is not as great a concern. It is axiomatic that price, the total cost of attendance, including travel, will always be an essential consideration for international students and their families.  Finally, promotion and courtship are similar constructs for admissions recruiting.

 The risks that potential international undergraduate students face include being a long distance from home, cultural similarities or dissimilarities, concerns about safety, uncertainty about whether or not their degree and the institution that they attended will be valued in their home country, and concerns about their ability to get relevant work experience before returning to their country of origin. Enrollment management professionals, admissions leaders, faculty members, and student life professionals should always be cognizant of these risk factors for potential international students. For example, the language barriers for students arriving from European countries will not be as pronounced as for a student coming from Thailand. Because English has become the lingua franca of business, many European countries offer or, in some cases, require programs in English. In addition, there will be more cultural similarities for these students in comparison to an undergraduate coming to the United States from Senegal.

Enrollment professionals understand that promotion – admissions marketing – plays a vital role in students’ decisions as to where to matriculate. However, I have always found it helpful if I have a broader metaphor to use as I consider new and existing admissions marketing and recruitment approaches. To that end, I have always found courtship to be an evocative metaphor for my thinking. If I was indeed courting the person whom I hoped would become my life partner, or even someone with whom I’m trying to develop a really good friendship, thinking about my actions as forms of courtship helps to broaden my thinking, to think beyond the traditional approaches to admissions marketing and recruitment and to evaluate new strategies. How might a prospective cosmopolitan female student who speaks Mandarin or Hindi respond differently than domestic female students to the various steps in the admissions and recruitment process? For institutions that might use financial aid to recruit prospective international undergraduates, admissions and financial aid professionals need to be aware that these students  might have no understanding of campus-based financial aid at the start of the recruitment process

Within this framework, when recruiting international undergraduates, colleges and universities must do comprehensive self-assessments of their market positions. Enrollment leaders need to know where they stand in relation to their products, including rankings, competitor universities, or specific academic programs. For example, not all colleges have high quality undergraduate performance-oriented music programs. Enrollment professionals must have a clear-eyed understanding of the extent to which the university’s location is attractive to prospective international students. Senior campus administrators, faculty, admissions marketing staff, and enrollment management leaders should realize that they have limited ability in the short run to change the academic programs (products) they offer or to alter their location(s).  It often takes a decade or more for a university to substantially improve its position in ranking schemes. The attractiveness of a location is likely to be a function of distance from home, similarity of cultures, and personal safety. In the short term, institutional net pricing (which is the cost of attendance minus any institutional financial aid), promotion, and actions aimed at risk reduction are the only policy and programmatic levers that enrollment managers can employ.

Promotion and related risk reduction strategies need to be based on an understanding of where the university stands in the higher education marketplace in the United States.  Understanding the cultural milieu from which students are being recruited is also essential knowledge for admissions professionals. This understanding can help them to develop effective messaging around the attractiveness of where the university is located, and the degree of safety for international undergraduates. More importantly, this knowledge can help admissions staff to identify the cultural norms associated with “courting” someone from that part of the globe.

It is also essential for universities to collect information on the competitor universities that their targeted international students apply to, and where they enroll. This knowledge is essential for developing more effective recruitment/promotion strategies. A competitor analysis also enables universities to make comparisons of the net price of attendance. These competitor analyses must be rooted in data. Promotional and recruitment tactics are unlikely to be successful if enrollment leaders have identified aspirational competitors as opposed to those institutions with whom they most often compete directly for international undergraduates.  

  Alongside the most highly ranked universities, or programs, in the United States, enrollment leaders are likely to discover that they have other competitors in different international markets. Thus, the enrollment modeling will need to be sensitive to the possibility of varying net price strategies depending upon the region of the world from which a university is trying to attract more international students. Finally, universities, and their specific academic programs, need to know that persistence is required.  If your university is not a household name in a particular region of the country where you are recruiting, it will take time to develop a steady stream of applicants. This is another example why a thorough competitive analysis is necessary. Without this, universities may spend a great deal of time and money with unrealistic hopes of enrolling more international undergraduate students.

At the bottom line, colleges and universities attempting to enroll more international students must keep in mind the 4P’s, but to see them through the lenses of risk reduction and of recruitment as a form of courtship.

Donald Hossler a member of the Edu Alliance Group Advisory Council is an emeritus professor of educational leadership and policy studies at Indiana University Bloomington (IUB). He currently serves as a Senior Scholar at the Center for Enrollment Research, Policy and Practice in the Rossier School of Education, at the University of Southern California. Hossler has also served as vice chancellor for student enrollment services, executive associate dean of the School of Education, and the executive director of the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center.

Hossler’s areas of specialization include college choice, student persistence, student financial aid policy, and enrollment management. Hossler has received career achievement awards for his research, scholarship, and service from the American College Personnel Association, the Association for Institutional Research, the College Board, and the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators. He recently received the Sonneborn Award for Outstanding Research and Teaching from IUB and was named a Provost Professor.

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 [email protected] 

February 28, 2022 by Dr. Bruce Taylor In the West, it’s common to view globalization through an inbound lens: international students and scholars come to North America or Europe for study or work, with some returning home and others perhaps choosing to remain.  But the outbound movement of Western scholars to non-Western settings has always been present, although less visible.  In my own case, I came onto the academic job market in the early 1980s, a time of severe global recession when jobs in many fields, including higher education, were scarce.  When I broke with all expectations and accepted a faculty position at the Chinese University of Hong Kong in 1982, I figured I would likely teach there 2-3 years before returning to more familiar territory in the United States.  Those initial 2-3 years ended up stretching to 38 ½ years before I retired in March 2021, covering six countries and territories and incorporating a move from faculty to academic administration. 

In my time outside of America, I’ve known hundreds of expatriates in similar situations to my own, some as close friends and colleagues, others as more casual acquaintances.  The motivations to pursue an expatriate career are as varied as the individuals themselves.  The intangible value of immersion in diverse cultures, different from one’s own, is often cited as a benefit for residing abroad.  This benefit is real, and I value it greatly.  It was equally significant for my wife and me to pass on a multicultural world view, not from books or YouTube videos but lived experiences, to our children. For others, the opportunity for world travel is an incentive or the chance to reinvent oneself by surmounting new challenges.  And for some scholars, there are academic benefits to living and working in a locality or culture where one’s research is centered.

But although an expatriate career can be very rewarding, it comes with its own set of cautions and caveats. What follows is a selection of thoughts, including those cautions and caveats, distilled from my experiences and those of other expats I’ve known well, which I hope are useful to readers considering a career change or redirection that involves an international relocation.

Research priorities may need to shift.  To some extent, this is inevitable when, say, a faculty member assumes administrative responsibilities.  But in an international setting, other factors come to bear on a scholar’s ability to sustain a research agenda.  Funding opportunities and grant support may be harder to come by or mainly restricted to nationals of the country.  Graduate assistants and postdoctoral researchers are scarce in many localities without robust traditions of graduate education of their own.  Import of laboratory equipment is costly.  The local context may indicate a particular slant that needs to be given to a research program to address decision-makers’ concerns.  Even a research subject that would seem universally applicable – think of the impacts of climate change, for instance – is looked on differently in different places.  Sea level rise may be the main concern in one country, desertification in another, intensification of weather patterns in a third.

In my experience, these concerns are well understood by faculty.  I faced more resistance as a CEO than I’d anticipated trying to persuade other expatriates and some local colleagues to take on administrative responsibilities in areas where faculty involvement is crucial, such as strategic planning and academic quality assurance.  Almost without exception, the sticking point was less time for research.  (It didn’t help, of course, that budget constraints in these institutions necessitated a four-course-per-semester teaching load). 

Flexibility is valued.  I ended up as the secretary to five university committees in my second administrative position, only two of which related closely to my job description.  The justification was that the working language of the university administration was English, and the specialist art of recording minutes for committee meetings was out of the comfort zone for many of the school’s managers – even those who spoke the language fluently.  As a native speaker, I was perceived to be more capable of rendering the nuances of language for inclusion in the permanent record of the committees’ proceedings.  Other expatriates I knew volunteered other skills – in one case, an administrator agreed to coach an American football team that local students had organized without much knowledge of the sport.  Once an expatriate’s particular skills and competencies become known, they can expect to be offered the chance to use them – even in ways that are unanticipated when starting the job.

Networks are valuable.  In my experience, career expatriates are mobile, and it’s unusual to spend one’s entire career at one institution.  Even within the same country, there often are ample opportunities to move between institutions.  Twice in my career, when I needed to make a change, I leveraged connections I had made in earlier positions to land my next one.  Alongside this, there are places where tenure is non-existent, due process can’t be relied upon, and owners or senior managers can be capricious in their decision-making.  A professional network represents the best social safety net for an expatriate, and cultivating one is time well spent in those conditions.

Family buy-in makes all the difference.  It is vital for an expatriate with a family to research living conditions that will impact the household’s quality of life before accepting a position.  Some countries don’t allow trailing spouses to work locally.  (Virtually may be a different story).  Schooling opportunities for children may be non-existent in some locations, apart from international schools, ranging from merely pricey to eye-wateringly expensive.  Housing options may seem very costly in relation to the units’ size or quality.  The days of “expat packages” such as I first enjoyed in Hong Kong, where family budgets were cushioned with allowances for housing or schooling or home leave that were part of the overall compensation scheme, are long gone in most parts of the world.  These difficulties are usually surmountable, but the spouse and children may need to accept some disruption and dislocation in the short term.  A sense of adventure might motivate many expatriates, but it needs to be a shared sense of adventure.

Retirement planning will look different.  In many countries, participation in a public retirement scheme is limited to citizens of that country.  An expatriate might receive instead an end-of-contract lump-sum gratuity payment, the size of which may vary depending on final salary and years of service.  A move to different countries in the course of one’s career might result in several of these one-off payments coming in at different times.  It is on the individual’s shoulders to convert these irregular lump sums, together with any accumulated regular savings, into an adequate income stream for retirement. Doing so is doubly essential for expats intending to ultimately retire in their home country but who haven’t had the chance to contribute to its Social Security or pension system while working elsewhere. 

Every society is fractured.  Every nation and culture has its social divisions, which may be along very different lines than an expatriate is used to.  Geographical divides, linguistic divides, caste or social class, divides, “native” versus “foreigner” divides – any of these can set groups within the community apart from each other.  Expatriates need to be aware of the basis for social fractures that, left unaddressed, can disrupt the life of the institution.  Concepts such as “diversity” and “inclusion” will take on new meanings in the local context depending on the nature of the gap to be bridged and the willingness of the institution’s leadership to take actions in that direction.

Local politics can be challenging.  In all of my time outside the US, I never held a position in a Western-style democracy.  Two of the places where I worked were colonies, two were monarchies, and two were one-party states.  Co-workers who are local to the country may have different levels of political involvement, from government apologists to dissidents to wholly apathetic.  Although expatriates are not expected to insert themselves into political controversies, there may be a temptation from time to time to comment – say, in response to an action on the local or national government’s part that one feels strongly about.  My suggestion is to resist doing so, at least in public, like social media.  The reputational risks, not to mention the risks of alienating co-workers with other views, are too high.

Going back to the home country may be daunting.  I’m not only thinking about those who have fallen in love with and married a partner from the host country – though that indeed happens!   But less dramatically — over time, and with more prolonged exposure to the host country’s culture and society, and the challenges that the country and its residents face, an expatriate’s teaching inevitably skews towards “local relevance” — a focus on host country nationals, and host country traditions.  Western textbooks, for instance, are supplemented with examples that students can relate to.  Assignments, examinations, internships, project supervision, thesis, and dissertation supervision if teaching at the graduate level – all may look quite different after a few years as an expatriate faculty member.  After a point, it may seem too troublesome to reinvent one’s teaching yet again, to conditions in the home country.  Staying put, or perhaps another expatriate position, becomes the path of least resistance.

A related issue, and one that’s well known in respect of corporate relocations, is whether an expatriate’s accumulated experience outside the home country will be valued by hiring committees or Deans or Board members there if he or she is seeking to relocate.  I never had to find this out, but anecdotal evidence often suggests otherwise, especially for administrators.  For example, very seldom do the listings of new presidents or provosts in Inside Higher Ed or The Chronicle of Higher Education include appointees – even Americans- who were based in a non-Western country prior to their move.

All things considered, I’d certainly do it again, and I think my family would too.  There have been so many small rewards, seemingly insignificant in isolation but adding up to an immeasurably satisfying working life.  Some of my most cherished moments were the evenings in my office when I hand-signed a batch of student diplomas, giving official validation to the personal time invested and the individual and familial sacrifices each of the students had made in pursuit of their degrees while also commemorating the labors of the faculty and staff whose support was essential to get them to that milestone.  In the end, I can’t think of any tribute or award that could ever be more meaningful or leave me with greater satisfaction.

Key Points to Consider

  • Research priorities may need to shift
  • Flexibility is valued
  • Networks are valuable
  • Family buy-in makes all the difference
  • Retirement planning will look different
  • Every society is fractured
  • Local politics can be challenging
  • Going back to the home country may be daunting

Dr. Bruce Taylor recently retired after a career of nearly 40 years in the field of higher education. He has worked in Hong Kong, Kuwait, Macau, Kazakhstan, Cambodia, and The United Arab Emirates. Dr. Taylor served in a variety of higher education positions ranging from faculty, academic administration, accreditation commissioner, and university President. He has his Bachelor’s from The University of Akron, Masters from the University of North Carolina, and a PhD in Urban Planning from Harvard University. Bruce serves as a consultant for Edu Alliance.  

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 [email protected] 

April 11, 2020 by Dean Hoke – When I came back to the United States in 2017-18 I wanted to re-engage with the US university community. I joined NAFSA primarily due to my work in International Higher Education but I also wanted to be a part of a smaller organization where I could get to know the people better and attend conferences that would continue my professional development. I decided to join in 2018 The American Association of University Administrators (AAUA).

Who is AAUA

AAUA is a non-profit professional organization founded in 1970 for higher education leaders and administrative personnel. It is the only professional association for individuals who are interested in the entire range of higher education management (from department chair/unit director through president) in the entire diverse set of American colleges and universities (two- and four-year; public, private non-profit, private for-profit; comprehensive, research-focused, special mission).

Membership in AAUA helps support the association’s mission. In addition, membership provides—for those members who have an interest—opportunities for professional networking and leadership. In addition to enrolling and serving a significant complement of administrators at the most senior levels, the association is also interested in assisting early-career practitioner administrators build/enhance their leadership portfolios by providing leadership opportunities through service on association committees, boards, and taskforces. Opportunities to collaborate on offering professional development services are available as well.

Professional Development Opportunities

Annual Leadership Seminar: In particular this is my favorite because of the networking and the presentations. The 50th Leadership Seminar of the American Association of University Administrators is scheduled for June 9-10, 2022. It will be held as a hybrid event, with in-person sessions meeting at the Marriott Stanton South Beach Hotel (Miami, Florida). In-person sessions are planned for June 9 (morning and evening) and June 10 (morning). On-line sessions will be held on the afternoon of June 9th. I will be attending in person.

AAUA Professional Development Fellows Program : The Fellows Program is an individually designed, year-long, mentored professional development experience during which the candidate uses his/her day to-day responsibilities as the spring board for improving a set of self-identified professional skills to enhance his/her administrative competence.

Cross-Institution Visits : Recognizing the value of learning from administrative peers at other institutions (both similar in nature and of radically different structure or purpose), AAUA facilitates short-term (one to three week) cross institution visits between like-role administrators. The association also occasionally organizes and conducts small group (6-10 people) two- and three-day visits to clusters of institutions for the purpose of learning about notable or unique programs.

So What is the Cost of Membership?

There are two types of memberships. One is Individual and the other is Institutional

Individual: An active Membership (Open to any person interested in the administration of higher education) is $100. The Student (Open to any graduate student enrolled in an institution of higher education who is interested in the field of higher education administration. is $35.

Institutional: Any college/university or any other organization/firm may sponsor the membership of individuals on the following basis:

  • 1-6 Supported Members – Total membership dues rate: $500
  • 7-15 Supported Memberships – Total membership dues rate: $1,000
  • 16-24 Supported Memberships – Total membership dues rate: $1,500
  • 25 or more Supported Memberships: $2,000

I would encourage you to consider becoming a member of the AAUA. I have found the people you get to know are outstanding, the conferences educational and enjoyable and the cost of membership is well worth the value.

If you have questions or wish to join feel free to contact me or better yet contact:

Dan L. King, Ed.D., President, and Chief Executive Officer
American Association of University Administrators
1 Ralph Marsh Drive, Glen Mills, Pennsylvania 19342 (USA)Phone: 814-460-6498
Email: [email protected]

Dean Hoke is a Managing Partner of Edu Alliance Group in the United States and Co-Founder of Edu Alliance Ltd. in the United Arab Emirates. Dean has decades of progressively responsible and visionary leadership roles in higher education, communications & online learning. He has led numerous initiatives that have created innovation & positive change in the higher education & non-profit sector. 

Dean began his career in 1975 with Bellarmine University working in various roles, including admissions and external relations. In 1983 he entered the broadcasting field, serving as a senior executive for Public Broadcasting System stations and a cable network. In 1998 he co-founded The Connected Learning Network, a full-service online learning company. In 2009 accepted an invitation to move to the United Arab Emirates serving in senior positions at Higher Colleges of Technology & Khalifa University.

He participates in numerous advisory & consulting projects in the fields of international education, branding, business intelligence, and online learning. He is an active speaker and writer in the field of global higher education and distance learning. Dean has presented and written worldwide on leadership, higher education, and distance learning. Dean is a member of the Board of the American Association of University Administrators, the Franklin University School of Education Advisory Board, and a member of NAFSA. Mr. Hoke has a B. A from Urbana University, an M.S from the University of Louisville, and a Certificate in Executive Management from the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School.