This is a best prospect industry sector for this country. Includes a market overview and trade data.
Last Published: 11/8/2019


Education Market                                                                                                                             Unit: USD thousands
 2016201720182019 (est.)
Taiwan Students in the U.S.21,12721,51622,45422,923
Taiwan Students’ Contribution to U.S. Economy$722,000$736,000 $824,000$841,000
Exchange Rate:  USD132.4029.6530.5930.86
Sources: IIE Open Doors 2018 Report; NAFSA Economic Analysis for 2016-2017 Academic Year; Exchange rates: U.S. Treasury Department

According to the Institute of International Education's 2018 Open Doors Report, 22,454 students from Taiwan studied in the United States during the 2017/2018 academic year, a 4.4 percent increase over 2016/2017 that contributed $824 million to the U.S. economy. Taiwan has long been the seventh leading source of students going to the United States and the fourth per capita (only behind Saudi Arabia, South Korea, and Hong Kong). Among Taiwan students studying in the United States in 2017/2018, 41.1 percent were graduate students; 31.2 percent were undergraduates; 7.7 percent were non-degree students; and 20 percent undertook OPT (Optional Practical Training). The most popular fields of study for Taiwan students were business and management (19.2 percent), STEM (18.1 percent), fine or applied arts (11.0 percent), and social science (6.2 percent).

Taiwan’s early 2000s educational reforms, which upgraded vocational and technical colleges to become universities, have resulted in an oversupply of universities, a devaluation of college degrees, and a mismatch of the labor supply to job market demand. These overcapacity issues are further complicated by Taiwan’s persistently low birthrate. It is estimated that by 2023, there will be 184,000 new college entrants, a huge decline from 271,108 new entrants in 2013. This 32 percent decline is a major concern as it could lead to a labor shortage in the future workforce and the forced closure of many higher education institutions. In response to the looming social and education crisis, in January 2016, Taiwan’s Ministry of Education formed a Higher Education Innovation and Transformation Task Force to promote alliances between higher education institutions and to establish experimental branch campuses, independent colleges, and certificate programs and courses. However, collaboration efforts between domestic and foreign universities have been hindered by the high cost of education abroad, which limits study abroad opportunities for many Taiwan students.

Additionally, in response to globalization and rising talent mobility, the Taiwan authorities created two important initiatives in 2018. The "Yushan Project" seeks to attract and retain top domestic and foreign talent through three major programs: the "Yushan Scholars", "Salary Flexibility in Higher Education Deep-Planning Program", and "Increase Salaries for Academic Research-Oriented Professors by 10 Percent". Each year, a maximum budget of $187 million will benefit 19,000 teachers by providing a flexible salary to teaching and research staff in colleges and universities. The other proposed initiative was the “2030 Bilingual Nation Policy Development Blueprint”, which seeks to strengthen children’s English language ability at the primary and middle school levels, with the goal of achieving mass English language fluency within the next 12 years. However, there have been challenges to implementing this plan as it is not yet clear by which of a number of central government agencies it would be carried out and because cost and capacity have proven challenging. However, United States English-language education institutions may benefit if this plan is implemented.

According to statistics from the Taiwan Ministry of Education, a total of 67,668 Taiwan students went abroad to study or work in 2018. The United States remained the top study destination for Taiwan students, with 21,516 students, accounting for 32 percent of Taiwan students going abroad. Australia came in second place, with 18,227 students, and Japan third place, with 10,347 Taiwan students in 2018. Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, and New Zealand were also popular among Taiwan students. Most Taiwan students choose to go to the United States to attend degree, certificate, or language programs. In contrast, most Australia-bound students take part in working holiday programs. Canada and Japan offer similar visas to allow Taiwan citizens to work and study in short-term programs.

Taiwan Student Study Abroad Destinations in 2018
North America (mainly United States)26,856
Oceania (mainly Australia)20,297
Asia (mainly Japan)11,338
Europe (mainly United Kingdom)9,197
 Source: Taiwan Ministry of Education

Traditionally, English-speaking countries have dominated foreign education recruiting in Taiwan. However, in recent years, neighboring Asian countries such as Hong Kong, China, and Singapore have stepped up recruitment efforts for Taiwan students, especially high school students. Aside from foreign recruitment efforts, other factors contributing to this increase include parents’ dissatisfaction with inadequate prospects available to Taiwan youth, mainly regarding higher education, job opportunities, and compensation and benefits packages. Despite many incentives offered by China and by other Asian countries, the United States remains the top choice for Taiwan parents. This is further supported by the growing number of bilingual international schools operating in Taiwan that prepare students to study in the United States and at other foreign universities. Since many of these students remain in the United States to continue their studies at the graduate level, a stronger relationship between Taiwan students and United States institutions is likely to have a lasting economic impact. Therefore, graduate institutions may also expect growing demand in the future as a result of ongoing growth in the high school and undergraduate market segments.

For many Taiwan students, studying abroad at U.S. institutions remains an appealing alternative to studying in Taiwan. Although Taiwan schools are far more affordable than those in the United States, they are not competitive because studying in the United States (or in other overseas locations) provides better employment opportunities after graduation. As a result, U.S. schools that emphasize post-graduation job placement are popular with Taiwan students. To maintain their dominant position in Taiwan’s overseas study market, U.S. schools should consider establishing partnerships, such as academic exchanges or joint degree programs, with Taiwan institutions. Finally, it is recommended that U.S. schools promote their institutions to Taiwan students by hiring student recruitment agencies, developing active alumni networks, and reaching out to potential students through education fairs and social media.

Leading Sub-Sectors

  • High schools and boarding schools
  • Joint-degree programs with local universities
  • Programs containing a work or internship component
  • Programs in business, engineering, computer sciences, health care, education, and fine arts
  • Pathway or bridge programs


Partnering with local schools is an effective long-term strategy for U.S. schools to recruit Taiwan students for joint-degree programs or short-term summer programs. In addition, many Taiwan universities have established Mandarin centers to educate foreign students. U.S. schools should consider increasing cultural and language exchanges with Taiwan schools. CS Taiwan can help to match U.S. schools with local universities or high schools.

Partnering with student recruiting agents also allows U.S. schools to have year-round exposure to the Taiwan market. Recruiting agents are one of the main resources used by Taiwan students and parents when planning studies abroad. CS Taiwan can help U.S. schools pre-screen prospective agents and arrange one-on-one meetings in Taipei, Taichung, and Kaohsiung.

Participation in education fairs may also be an effective tool to recruit Taiwan students. Fair organizers have a deep knowledge of the market and can greatly reduce U.S. schools’ marketing expenses. Local fair organizers also counsel students throughout the year and are able to follow up with prospective students. 


Web Resources

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Relevant Authorities

U.S. firms interested in learning more about the Education market and seeking to expand their export opportunities to Taiwan are encouraged to contact CS Taiwan Commercial Specialist Grace Tao at or visit our website.
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Taiwan Education Trade Development and Promotion