Study examines perceptions of pathway programmes

According to a new report, the main reason universities partner with outside companies to offer pathway programmes for international students is to increase recruitment and enrolment of international undergraduates, while their main reasons for not partnering are concerns about academic standards and loss of control over the admissions process, writes Elizabeth Redden for Inside Higher Ed.

The report, commissioned by NAFSA: Association of International Educators, examines the growth of third-party pathway partnerships, in which universities partner with corporate entities to recruit for and deliver first-year programmes that combine credit-bearing academic course work and developmental English classes for non-native speakers.

Third-party pathway partnerships are a relatively new phenomenon in United States higher education, and their growth over the last decade has been controversial, raising concerns about outsourcing as it relates to core functions like admissions and teaching as well as questions about college readiness and rigour. On the other hand, the robust recruiting resources and specialised expertise that pathway providers promise have been enticing to many university administrators who are increasingly under pressure to recruit more full-pay international undergraduate students, and the number of such partnerships has steadily increased.
Full report on the Inside Higher Ed site