22 SES 05 C, Employability and Transition to Work of Higher Education Graduates
International scholarship programs in higher education have existed for many years. In the early 20th century, some nations established overseas study abroad programs to train the administrative elite of their colonies. In the Cold War era, highly-developed democratic countries used international scholarship programs to counteract the ideological influence of the Communist Block in Third World countries, while intergovernmental agencies and private sponsors funded international scholarship programs for Third World students as a form of developmental assistance (Varghese 2008). After the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the resulting disruption of the system of higher education in its successor states, many newly-independent nations created programs that sent students abroad with the goal of addressing shortages of highly-skilled workers at a time of rapidly increasingly demand for higher education. More recently, some countries in the Middle East and South America have launched international scholarship programs to educate large numbers of high school graduates abroad and consequently increase their nation’s global economic competitiveness (OECD & The World Bank 2008).
The variety and longevity of many international scholarship programs and the continued launch of new programs indicate that this type of policy is popular among higher education policymakers worldwide. The theories of human capital and public sector economics are helpful in understanding some of the reasons that governments provide financial support for these programs (Becker 1994). At the micro level, international scholarship programs provide individuals with the financial resources that they need to invest in developing their human capital. At the macro level, governments and intergovernmental organizations fund international scholarship programs to maximize individual investment in human capital and promote the accumulation of such positive externalities as national economic growth and productivity, internalization of democratic values, and enhanced multicultural understanding.
Nonetheless, although governments around the world have created international scholarship programs to promote the human capital of their populations (and achieve other goals) (Kim 1998), substantial variations in the priorities, structures, requirements, and other characteristics of these programs limit understanding of whether and how these programs promote human capital development and produce other benefits. In order to productively compare and contrast the characteristics, benefits, and costs of international scholarship programs across countries and regions, researchers and policymakers need a comprehensive framework for categorizing the international scholarship programs developed so far. This paper addresses this knowledge need by first attempting to identify the population of international scholarship programs and then developing a framework for categorizing the identified programs. More specifically, the paper addresses the following research questions:
1) What are the key characteristics (e.g., structures, goals, requirements, outcomes, etc.) of the population of international scholarship programs worldwide?
2) Given the similarities and differences in characteristics across programs worldwide, what are useful categories or “types” of international scholarship programs?
This paper defines international scholarship programs as a form of public policy. Thus, only programs that are funded by governments or intergovernmental organizations are included.
Becker, G. S. (1994). Human capital: A theoretical and empirical analysis, with special reference to education. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Kim, J. (1998). Economic analysis of foreign education and students abroad. Journal of Development Economics 56, 337–365. OECD and the World Bank (2008). Chile’s international scholarship program. Reviews of National Policies for Education. Paris: OECD and the World Bank. Perna, L. W., Rowan-Kenyon, H., Bell, A., Thomas, S. L., and Li, C. (2008). A typology of federal and state programs designed to promote college enrollment. The Journal of Higher Education 79(3), 243–267. Varghese, N. V. (2008). Globalization of higher education and cross-border student mobility. Paris: UNESCO.
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