Cross-border higher education has become an urgent agenda item for policy makers, and a major focus of scholarly enquiry. The existing literature mainly focuses
on international flows, and pays less attention to flows across internal borders. The literature also underplays the complexity of forces which either push students to study away from home or pull them to new locations.
This thesis contributes to the literature by examining the distinctive determinants and characteristics of cross-border flows of mainland Chinese students
in Hong Kong and Macao. This mobility within a single country has some similarities to international mobility because Hong Kong and Macao are Special Administrative Regions governed under different laws from the rest of China. Patterns in Hong Kong differ from those in Macao, and the territories are compared with each other as well as taken as a pair for comparison with other parts of the world. Hong Kong and Macao are hybrid in nature, with characteristics that are neither fully domestic nor fully international, and play a dual role both as destinations in themselves and as stepping-stones for further internationalization.
In a global market, both excess and differentiated demand trigger flows to the external locations in which various suppliers compete with and complement each
other. The borders across which mainland Chinese students flow, both internationally and internally, are blurred and loosened by the interests of domestic and external actors and by the powers of globalization and neo-liberalism. Two categories of financial mechanisms of cross-border mobility, i.e. fee-paying and scholarship, serve as differentiated instruments of China’s social stratification and mobility. Fee-paying enhances social stratification, and scholarships favor social mobility.
The thesis presents a framework which includes analysis of internal and external dynamic forces. Among these forces are the actions of governments,
institutions and individuals