Student reading

Explore our research in higher education and student mobility.

Anchor or Sail: Comparative study of how UK and US universities balance their local and international ambitions (2019)

The role of higher education institutions, and their relationship to their local communities, is a topic of debate in both the UK and the USA.  How do institutions balance their civic responsibilities with their global ambitions and internationalisation strategies?  In this comparative study, conducted by the Institute of International Education in partnership with the British Council, we examine how six selected UK and US colleges and universities are successfully supporting their local communities while providing international opportunities for students and faculty.  The case studies highlight various approaches to address this challenge, and the role of civic/private partners, both local and international.  

Please see below for a PDF version of the report. 

Social Enterprise in a Global Context (2016)

Set against a context of global growth in higher education, this research seeks to understand and enhance the role of international cooperation between higher education institutions and social enterprises. The study has examined higher education institutions in the following countries: Asia (Hong Kong, India, Pakistan, Thailand); Africa (Kenya, South Africa); Europe (Greece, Slovenia, UK); Latin America (Mexico); and North America (Canada, USA). 

The research responds to the worldwide growth in higher education and social enterprise, mapping and exploring existing partnerships between higher education institutions (HEIs) and social enterprise (SE); the benefits of existing cooperation; and the impact of such cooperation on a range of stakeholder groups, such as students, social entrepreneurs, and funders. In addition, the study also reviews the approaches used by HEIs to deliver social enterprise skills to students.


This study examines the benefits and challenges of a partnership between higher education institutions and social enterprises in the state of California. 

It is one of 12 country - and regional- level studies that informed Social enterprise in a global context: the role of higher education institutions, our global report (cited above) on the engagement between higher education and social enterprise.

Click here to read the full report.

Higher Education and Return on Investment (2016)

It is generally accepted that those with higher levels of education will be able to secure better jobs with higher salaries. But have the benefits of a four-year degree course changed over time?

Higher education in the US brings with it many benefits which can have a positive impact on life outcomes for an individual in terms of both financial security and social mobility – with a knock-on benefit for wider society. However, the perceived cost of the four-year undergraduate education system can act as a deterrent to many would-be students. The level of the return on investment, in terms of better-paid jobs and more rewarding careers, is dependent on many factors, including choice of subject. This study looks at how that return on investment has shifted over time, with a particular emphasis on the changes in some degree fields and for certain racial and demographic groups.

Click here to read the full report.