Global Engagement Solutions for Higher Education


The Future of International Education

March 4, 2024


In this 1:42 video, Paul Hofmann discusses the future of international education and its critical importance, predicting continued growth in student mobility worldwide. Paul envisions that international education will remain crucial to universities regardless of its specific form. IE's future will evolve through various enrollment methods and expanding opportunities in the next decade.

From a podcast interview with Paul Hofmann,  a professional whose expertise is over four years as a Senior International Officer at the University of Louisville.

“There will be an evolution to international education in the next 10 to 15 years.”

The Changing Landscape of International Education

International education has always played a crucial role in institutions, but its importance has reached a critical level and will continue to be a key focus in the future. As Paul Hofmann, an expert in the field, explains, projections of student mobility worldwide indicate that there will be sustained growth. However, the form of international education is expected to evolve significantly in the coming years.

The Rise of Multifaceted Programs

Traditionally, international education has been associated with students going to the US embassy, obtaining a visa, and enrolling in a full-time program for an extended period of time. While there will still be demand for such programs, the future of international education will see the rise of multifaceted options. Hybrid programs, which combine online and in-person learning, will become more prevalent. Short-term certificates and non-degree programs catering to specific needs will also gain popularity.

According to Paul, “There will be an evolution to international education in the next 10 to 15 years. One of the big questions is what will that look like?” This evolution will give students more flexibility and allow institutions to cater to a broader range of learners. The ability to offer diverse program options will be crucial for universities to remain competitive in the global education landscape.

The Importance of Enrollment Diversity

In the future, international education will encompass multiple forms of enrollment. While the traditional model of students physically attending classes will still exist, online enrollment will become increasingly common. This includes synchronous and asynchronous learning, allowing students to access education worldwide. The flexibility of online programs will attract a broader range of students, including those who may not have been able to pursue international education previously due to various constraints.

Paul emphasizes the significance of short-term, non-degree programs that cater to the specific needs of students. These programs can provide targeted skills and knowledge in a shorter time frame, making them attractive to individuals looking to upskill or reskill quickly. Expanding such programs within international education will further enhance the diversity of student enrollment options.

Implications for Institutions and Students

The multifaceted evolution of international education has significant implications for institutions and students. It means adapting to new program delivery modes and embracing technological advancements for institutions. Hybrid programs and online learning require universities to invest in infrastructure and resources to ensure a seamless learning experience for students. Institutions will also need to develop robust support systems to cater to the diverse needs of students, whether they are on campus or studying remotely.

For students, the future of international education offers increased flexibility and accessibility. The availability of hybrid programs and online learning means that students can pursue their education without being limited by geographical boundaries. This opens up opportunities for individuals who may not yet be able to study abroad due to financial constraints or personal commitments. Short-term, non-degree programs allow individuals to acquire specific skills and knowledge without committing to a full-time degree program.


International education is already of critical importance to institutions, and its significance will only continue to grow in the future. The projected growth in student mobility worldwide indicates a sustained demand for international education, regardless of potential challenges. However, the future of international education will be more multifaceted, with hybrid programs, short-term certificates, and non-degree programs becoming increasingly popular.

Institutions must be prepared to adapt and embrace new program delivery modes to thrive in this evolving landscape. This includes investing in infrastructure and resources to support hybrid and online learning and developing robust support systems for students. For students, the future of international education offers increased flexibility and accessibility, providing opportunities for personal and professional growth.

As Paul aptly states, “Regardless of what it looks like, international education will remain critical to the university.” The future of international education is bright, and institutions and students alike must be ready to embrace the opportunities it presents. By staying ahead of the curve and embracing the multifaceted evolution of international education, institutions can continue providing high-quality education to diverse students, preparing them for success in an increasingly interconnected world.

To catch the full interview with Paul, CLICK HERE.