Introducing the U.S. for Success Coalition

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By Shorelight Team
Published on November 8, 2023

Shorelight and 10 other education organizations, think tanks, and advocacy groups have launched a new coalition focused on generating a greater and more diverse population of international students in the US - and ensuring their success in their educational journeys and careers.

This image shows Shorelight's company logo: a traditional fishing-style lantern in orange.

This week, Shorelight joined 10 other education organizations, think tanks, and advocacy groups across the nation to launch a new coalition focused on generating a greater and more diverse population of international students in the United States, and ensuring their success in their educational journeys and careers. The U.S. for Success Coalition will be dedicated to advancing and supporting federal policies that break down barriers and expand opportunities for international students across the country.

While US institutions of higher education remain the most sought after destination for international students around the globe, recent data makes clear that we aren’t keeping up with the markets of other countries to attract and retain international talent. Over the last 22 years, the United States’ share of international students has dropped from 28% in 2001 to 15% today, as students see the benefit of other countries with lower barriers to entry due to more favorable visa and immigration policies.

Despite this decline, the Department of State and the Department of Education have both recognized international education as an essential part of United States foreign policy, calling for a coordinated national approach to international education and making it clear that we must work harder to invite and support international students.

In the 10 years since Shorelight’s inception, we have seen countless examples of the range of societal, economic, and educational benefits that international students bring to their campuses and communities, and know that the coordination of these efforts among our dedicated organizations will only expand these opportunities.

The U.S. for Success Coalition is centered around seven interconnected core goals: 

  1. Coordinated Strategy for Success: Proactively creating ways to increase the number of international students who study and can work in the US post-graduation while uplifting supportive federal policies and centralizing essential resources;

  2. Strengthen Coordination: Expanding coordination among institutions and organizations dedicated to this cause;

  3. Expand the Diversity of the International Student Community: Diversifying the students coming to the US, emphasizing recruitment in the Global South, and of economically underrepresented and female students;

  4. Leverage Capacity of U.S. Institutions: Expanding destination options for international students and increasing institutional capacity to welcome and support international students, including community colleges, historically Black colleges and universities, minority-serving institutions, experiential learning, practical training, and more;

  5. Position U.S. to Compete and Cooperate Globally: Encouraging policies and practices that allow US institutions to attract international students and support their hiring processes and career development;

  6. Support Campus Best Practices: Promoting ethical, responsible practices in international student recruitment;

  7. Facilitate Immigration Pathways: Establishing pathways to employment-based visas and immigration for F-1 students who want to launch careers in the US, and protecting experiential learning programs like Optional Practical Training (OPT).

We believe that supporting these goals will strengthen the United States as the leading destination for global talent, and support international students as they apply their knowledge and skill sets in local economies across the nation after graduation. International students have clear benefits to our society, economic growth, diplomatic efforts, and global standing. Ensuring their continued placement across the country, as well as their academic and career success is critical to the growth and development of the United States at home and abroad.

You can learn more about the coalition and our upcoming work on the official U.S. for Success Coalition website.

Read the press release >

More information/Press contact: John Kissell,