Principal authors: Janet Ilieva, Pat Killingley and Vangelis Tsiligiris

Co-author: Alex Usher 


May 2019


'The shape of global higher education' generates greater knowledge and understanding of the policy environment for international higher education, and supports policy makers and higher education professionals in comparing and benchmarking the level of national support for international engagement in higher education.

This update is the fourth in the series, which we have been running since 2016.

The research now covers more than 50 countries, having revised the policy picture for 14 countries and added six new national overviews.

In this volume, we have extended the analysis to look not only at the policy environment for higher education, but changes in student flows, collaborative research output, and national investment in higher education promotion.


  • The global education context is a hugely competitive environment.
  • Since 2016, most countries have increased their national support for internationalisation of higher education.
  • Many countries have renewed, or recently published international higher education strategies. Often, these are accompanied by international student targets.
  • There is a positive relationship between the inbound student mobility rate and the wealth of a country, as measured by GDP per capita.


See also