Global Student Mobility

The current context

The number of new international students coming to the U.S. has declined for two consecutive years, and growth in global outbound student mobility is projected to slow from 5% to 1.4% annually over the next decade. Meanwhile, the number of countries competing to host international students is continuing to expand and further erode the proportion of international students who study in the U.S. At the same time, the college-age population will decline in all world regions except Africa through 2024, further shrinking the number of qualified students who can afford an increasingly expensive U.S. education. 

Within this competitive global context, generous foreign government scholarship programs that support study in the U.S. are being curtailed, and a number of other factors are driving prospective students to non-U.S. destinations. These factors include: geopolitical tensions between the U.S. and China and other nations; significant expansion of quality tertiary education capacity within top-sending regions; rising anti-immigrant and xenophobic sentiments; safety concerns and gun violence; and the increasingly harsh and restrictive visa and immigration environment in the U.S.

While Indiana University has a strong commitment to the importance of global education and offers a welcoming and supportive environment for international students, we have not been immune to these trends. Total international enrollment at IU Bloomington declined by -4.6% from fall 2016 to 2017, and -7.2% from fall 2017 to 2018.  Further declines are projected in 2019.  Chinese students, who comprise one-third of all international students studying in the U.S., are the primary driver of the national decline, as well as the IUB enrollment decline.

Planning for the future

The Global Student Mobility roundtable will bring together a group of senior administrators in the Office of the Vice President for International Affairs, the Office of the Provost and Executive Vice President, Deans and Associate Deans from the College and Schools, Graduate Program Directors, and staff responsible for undergraduate, graduate, and professional international student recruitment and admissions.

The goal is to equip participants with the context and information necessary to respond to an increasingly complex and competitive environment around global student mobility. The roundtable will:

  1. provide an overview of international student enrollment trends at IU;
  2. highlight major trends and shifting patterns in global student mobility flows;
  3. explain factors driving students to non-U.S. study destinations;
  4. discuss issues that make IU Bloomington less competitive in attracting international students;
  5. consider new and emerging forms of student mobility (distance education, dual and joint degrees, short-term study opportunities, and others); and
  6. feature best practice in international recruitment and admissions, including how utilization of the IU gateway network and our international alumni can bolster efforts.

Download the presentations

Jason Baumgartner

Jason Baumgartner

Director of International Systems and Information Services
Office of International Services

Jason Baumgartner has worked for the Office of International Services since 1999. He is the director of international systems and information services and the lead software developer of the SUNAPSIS application suite, a comprehensive immigration case management solution to enable staff to proactively assist international students and scholars in maintaining their lawful stay without interruption. International offices throughout IU use the software, and OIS licenses to other universities throughout the country. He is a member of NAFSA, and he developed the current algorithm and conducts the annual analysis (since 2000) for the NAFSA Economic Impact of International Students.

Rajika Bhandari

Rajika Bhandari

Senior Advisor, Research and Strategy Direction
Institute of International Education Center for Academic Mobility Research and Impact

Rajika Bhandari provides strategic guidance to IIE’s research, evaluation and thought leadership activities and directs IIE’s Center for Academic Mobility Research and Impact through which she leads the flagship Open Doors and Project Atlas projects on global student mobility. With over 20 years of experience in the nonprofit, private, and higher education sectors, Bhandari serves as a senior spokesperson for IIE on global higher education issues, is a frequent speaker and widely published author, including of six books, and has written for the Guardian, Times Higher Ed, the Huff Post, the Chronicle of Higher Education, and University World News. She is currently on the Board of Advisors for AIFS Study Abroad and on the Board of Trustees of the AIFS Foundation.

Hannah Buxbaum

Hannah Buxbaum

Vice President, International Affairs

Hannah Buxbaum was appointed vice president of international affairs in 2018. As vice president, Buxbaum promotes global engagement at IU across all aspects of the university’s mission. She provides strategic leadership in advancing IU’s international presence and works collaboratively with administrators, faculty, and staff to expand international research and educational opportunities. She oversees the offices that manage international admissions and student services, study abroad, international partnerships, and international development, as well as the university’s Global Gateway Network.

David Daleke

David Daleke

Vice Provost for Graduate Education and Health Sciences and Associate Dean of the University Graduate School

David Daleke has served since 2005 as associate dean of the University Graduate School and, since 2013, as vice provost for graduate education and health sciences. He is an associate professor of biochemistry and molecular biology in the Medical Sciences Program. He oversees graduate education and health sciences initiatives for IU Bloomington and chairs the graduate education committee.

Hironao Okahana

Hironao Okahana

Associate Vice President, Research and Policy Analysis
Council of Graduate Schools

Hironao Okahana is a higher education researcher, currently working for the Council of Graduate Schools (CGS). He is a co-principal investigator/research director for the Understanding Ph.D. Career Pathways for Program Improvement project, multi-campus efforts to better understand career preferences and outcomes of doctoral students and alumni across different fields of study. Okahana also directs CGS/GRE Survey of Graduate Enrollment and Degrees and CGS International Graduate Admissions Survey.

Lauren Robel

Lauren Robel

Provost and Executive Vice President

Lauren Robel was named provost of Indiana University Bloomington and executive vice president of Indiana University in 2012. She is the Val Nolan Professor of Law in the Maurer School of Law, where she served as dean from 2002 to 2011 and as associate dean from 1991 to 2002.

Robel has worked to solidify IU Bloomington’s reputation as a renowned international partner for collaborative research and academic initiatives, as well as a preferred destination for undergraduate and graduate students from around the globe. In recent years, Robel has traveled to Brazil, Chile, South Korea, and Taiwan to explore new partnerships and reaffirm existing partnerships with leading universities in those nations.

Rachel Salinas

Rachel Salinas

Associate Director, International Admissions Operations
Office of International Services

Rachel Salinas manages the international admissions operations teams and is an active member of the International Association for College Admissions Counseling and the Association for Graduate Enrollment Management. She currently serves on the membership outreach committee with the Association of International Credential Evaluation Professionals. She previously served as the Assistant Director of International Admissions at Indiana University where she engaged in international student recruitment and outreach.

Sacha Thieme

Sacha Thieme

Executive Director
Office of Admissions

Sacha Thieme is responsible for the leadership and advancement of strategy, policy, and operations for all domestic undergraduate admissions and recruitment. Prior to joining the team at IU, she served as the Director of Freshman Admission at DePaul University. She has been an active leader in the admissions community through her participation in both Illinois and Indiana Associations for College Admissions Counseling and her service on multiple committees for the National Association for College Admissions Counseling, including her service on the Steering Committee for Admissions Practices.

Christopher Viers

Christopher Viers

Associate Vice President for International Affairs
Office of International Services

Christopher Viers is responsible for strategic planning, organizational assessment, and major strategic projects within the Office of the Vice President for International Affairs. He also provides executive leadership of a dynamic organization responsible for meeting the comprehensive needs of approximately 9,000 international students and 1,500 visiting scholars on Indiana University’s eight campuses. In this capacity he oversees university-wide regulatory policy, practice, and service issues affecting international students, visiting scholars, and employees; international student recruitment and admissions; international student and scholar visa and immigration advising; international student life; the use, security, and retention of sensitive and critical international data; and the ongong planning, development, testing, and implementation of the SUNAPSIS software solution.

Seth Walker

Seth Walker

Associate Director of International Admission Recruitment
Office of International Services

Seth Walker manages the international recruitment team and he holds a volunteer position with the Council of International Schools and serves on the Latin America Committee. As a member of the Committee, Walker plans and leads tours to the Latin America region.

John Wilkerson

John Wilkerson

Assistant Vice President of International Services and Director of International Admissions
Office of International Services

John has worked in international education since 2006. Before IU, he previously held the position of Director of International Admissions at the University of Missouri, and served as Director of Admissions for Columbia College in Columbia, Missouri. He has served in various leadership roles with NAFSA: The Association of International Educators, and the Council of International Schools; he currently serves as Vice President for Admission and Enrollment Practices with the International Association for College Admission Counseling.






Lauren Robel


International student mobility trends

Learn about the major trends in global student mobility, and how IU Bloomington's performance compares to national data. Discuss influences on student choice, and understand the impact of rising non-U.S. destinations.

Chair: Christopher Viers

Panelists: Jason Baumgartner, Rajika Bhandari, Hironao Okahana, John Wilkerson




Best practices in international admissions

Discuss key principles and ethics in international enrollment management, areas of responsibility and opportunities for further coordination and collaboration at IU, and models of excellence.

Chair: John Wilkerson

Panelists: Rachel Salinas, Sacha Thieme, Seth Walker


Lunch (provided)


Strategic approaches to enhance our competitiveness

Hear about existing opportunities at IU, ways you can partner with OVPIA, and other ways you can help bolster IU Bloomington's competitiveness.

Chair: Hannah Buxbaum

Panelist: David Daleke


Closing remarks

Hannah Buxbaum

Renewing our commitment to and focus on international student recruitment and admissions will help ensure that IU Bloomington remains a top destination for the world's best, globally mobile students.