Changing policies and practices of Japanese national universities toward international students in light of financial and demographic challenges and the new university "corporatization"
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In light of the three policy and environmental factors: (1) shifting from quantitative to qualitative goals in the international student policy in 2003, (2) the corporatization of national universities in 2004, and (3) a deteriorating national demographic climate, the primary purpose of this study is to examine international student enrollment management differences between two types of Japanese national universities: more selective and less selective institutions. Specifically, this study examines the international student recruitment policies of national universities, such as their primary/prioritized host programs, target international student applicant pools, and required language proficiency standards. Data was first collected through quantitative methods in the form of a mailed survey questionnaire and later complemented by interviews for qualitative data collection. Results indicated that, first, in general, more selective national universities had larger numbers and higher proportions of international students than those of less selective national universities in their student populations. A university's selectivity type significantly influenced international student populations and a university's selectivity index was found to be a strong predictor of international student proportions overall. Second, the lower selectivity index a national university had, the more it placed importance on admitting international students to meet their authorized enrollment quotas. Third, regarding specific measures to recruit more international students, a higher percentage of more selective national universities than less selective national universities had English-based academic programs and international alumni association chapters. Fourth, with regard to language proficiency requirements, a significantly higher percentage of more selective national universities than less selective national universities required a TOEFL score for international applicants. Fifth, a significantly higher percentage of less selective national universities than more selective national universities had an academic program(s) not requiring English proficiency for their international admissions. Regarding international student recruitment, both more selective national universities and less selective national universities prioritized their graduate programs over undergraduate programs, but their approaches, motivations, and reasons for doing so were different. On one hand, more selective national universities, particularly in their advanced graduate programs, tended to take a proactive and positive approach for recruiting international students in order to both reinforce their institution's international dimensions and their institution's prestige of research and education. On the other hand, less selective national universities, especially with regards to their unstable graduate programs, tended to have passive, ad hoc approaches for recruiting such students in order to solve their immediate and pressing enrollment problems. By and large, while the increased autonomy of national universities has generally benefited a national university's administrative authority, in particular the self-financing accounts and internal budget allocations of more selective national universities, such is not necessarily the case for their international education programs, especially within less selective national universities. Finally, considering the newly formulated 300,000 International Student Plan, this study specifically recommends strategic reforms and innovative measures for both the Japanese government and Japanese universities in order to increase the number of incoming international students in Japan.