Inbound mobility rate


Number of students from abroad studying in a given country, expressed as a percentage of total tertiary enrolment in that country.

Data source

UIS survey of formal education and the joint UNESCO-OECD-EUROSTAT (UOE) survey.

Source definition

UNESCO Institute for Statistics

Calculation method

Number of internationally mobile students enrolled in all levels of tertiary education (ISCED 5 to ISCED 8) in a given country, in a given academic year, expressed as percentage of the total tertiary enrolment in the same academic year.

Data required

Enrolment in tertiary institutions by country of origin.


A high percentage of inbound mobility rate indicates a high degree of participation of students from abroad, and a strong capacity of the host country’s education system to attract international mobile students.


A number of considerations may affect the accuracy of the indicator. For example, inbound mobility rate may not properly capture mobile students enrolled in foreign university campuses operating in the reporting country. Furthermore, the criteria used to define mobile students may vary from one country to another, which may affect the cross-country comparability of this indicator.


To measure the mobility of students across countries for academic reasons.

Quality standards

Inbound mobility rate should be based on enrolment at all levels of tertiary education and types of institutions, covering ISCED levels 5 to 8 in all public and private institutions.

The UIS sets standards, develops questionnaires and quality control protocols for country data reporting, and maintains the global database on the structure of education and enrolment data in tertiary education by students’ country of origin and sex.

Types of disaggregation

By sex and ISCED level.