Statistical Factor Analysis of Demand for Russian Higher Education Institutions with Foreign Students

Author Name(s): Tokarev Yuri Alekseevich, Ashmarina Svetlana Igorevna, Izmailov Airat Maratovich, Nikulina Ekaterina Yurievna
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Russian higher education is gaining new frontiers, becoming an increasingly strong competitor to European universities. For one year the number of students from Europe in Russian universities increased by 40%, reaching 2.5 thousand people in 2015-2016 academic year. Russian higher education institutions have entered a number of TOP ratings in recent years, and it has happened because the number of foreign students and applicants entering institutes and universities of the Russian Federation is growing every yea. So, the number of foreign students in Russian universities increased by one and a half in 2015-2016. The target of this research is to study the influence of individual factors on the relevance of the university with foreign students. The scope of the research is universities in the subjects of the Russian Federation and quantitative characteristics of universities’ activity.


University Demand, International Students, Student Mobility, University Demand Factors


Establishing a context The university’s relevance reflects the ability of a higher education institution to attract the best students. Global world trends have shown that higher education is becoming increasingly international. According to experts from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), more than 4 million applicants enter universities outside their countries. The interest in attracting foreign students to the country is traditionally high in developed countries, and the trend of interest growth will only increase. For example, to support the US innovation economy, according to the Center for Higher Education Studies of the University of California, it is required to double the number of foreign students by 2020 (today more than 700,000 foreigners graduate in the US) (Smetanina, 2017) [1].

Over the past ten years, the number of foreign students in Russia has increased almost threefold. In 2004-2005, they were about 100 thousand foreign
students, and by the summer of 2015 it reached 282 thousand foreign students (“Russia is gaining popularity with foreign students”, 2016) [2]. Russian universities managed to attract foreign students, but they have not been recognized in the world yet. Three Russian universities were included in the ranking of the best universities in the world in 2016, published by the British edition of Times Higher Education (THE).


The authors have chosen the sample set, since the rank correlation coefficient can only be calculated from the sample data, it is necessary to evaluate its statistical significance within the general set as a whole. The level of significance, that is, the probability of making an error, is automatically 5%. Consequently, the conclusions about the significance of correlation coefficients have a statistical reliability of 95%.

According to the results of the research, it is clear that statistically more reliable conclusions about demand factors for Russian universities can be made based on the group of foreign students from the far abroad. These students believe that, such aspects as
the form of ownership of the institution (priority given to public HEI), its educational and scientific activities, as well as the level of development of international relations are very important. Taking into account students from the CIS countries, there is no reliable correlation ratio, which makes it possible to draw conclusions about the factors influencing their choice of the Russian higher education institution with a high probability. It requires a deeper study involving sociologists and psychologists.

Another conclusion was the insignificant influence of the employment factor of graduates. For 5 out of 7 indicators, this effect is statistically significant, but the magnitude of the correlation coefficient varies at very low values of 0.17 … 0.22. It is impossible to underestimate this factor, but it must be understood that it is delayed (lagged): not all applicants are readyto analyze and forecast the situation in the labor market in 4-5 years when choosing a university. There are the following ways to attract foreign students: • Establish new educational programs in cooperation with leading foreign universities; • Transition to a modular interdisciplinary principle while establishing and implementing educational programs; • Develop a virtual educational environment with the active use of the world’s open educational resources (EdX, Coursera); • Develop the university’s reputation, which implements unique educational programs that meet international standards; • Provide grant support of the best Russian and foreign students; • Develop the campus. In conclusion: in order the ratio of foreign students positively influences the higher education institution, it is necessary to work with a foreign enrolled student body so that this will further enhance the university’s reputation in academic national and international circles. The precisely planned bilateral academic mobility of students can further lead to results that will be measurable and visible: established joint scientific groups, developed joint scientific projects, published joint publications, and it will help exchange both students, postgraduate students, and scientific and academic staff, which in turn will help develop a competitive global educational environment in the Russian university and become leaders in the world ratings.

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