According to 80 per cent of agents who responded to a survey, factors that influence students’ and parents’ study abroad decisions changed during Covid-19.
INTO University Partnerships carried out a survey of 1,126 agents from 79 countries in early November and discovered that four out of five educational guidance counsellors and officials had observed shifts in the study abroad decision-making process.
According to 65 per cent of agents, students and parents are “increasingly price-sensitive” and are concentrating on scholarship opportunities and grants and various other types of financial aid. A further 61 per cent stated that clients are now more focused on career advancement than they were prior to Covid-19, and 49 per cent stated that there is a greater emphasis on return on investment.
When the 219 agents from China, Hong Kong, and Macau were divided into geographic areas, the focus on career outcomes was cited as the most significant change, with 68 per cent agreeing that it was a transition. Clients are looking for scholarships and bursaries was a much more widespread transformation, said 19% of the region’s agents.
Students and parents are increasingly looking for scholarships and bursaries, according to 86 per cent of the 94 South Asian agents, 82 per cent of the 387 East Asian agents, and 77 per cent of the 173 Middle East & Africa agents.
“As a (sic) study abroad aspirants navigate the new terrain before them, they’re counting on international education to give them every advantage toward future success,” said Olivia Streatfeild, CEO of INTO. “Accommodating their demands is critical to continued recovery”.
Agents suggested that the UK had been the top performer in terms of Vaccine roll-out, Quarantine, Borders, Welcome, and safety when comparing opinions on how the UK, the US, and Australia performed during the pandemic.
According to INTO, an “overwhelming” 89 per cent of education agents are positive about how open and accepting and safe the UK is for overseas students, while 69 per cent and 66 per cent said the same about Australia and the United States, respectively.
Approximately 81 per cent of respondents anticipate sending more students to the United Kingdom in the coming year, while 59 per cent anticipate sending more to the United States. Only 38% said they plan to send more to Australia in the coming year.
Out of the 387 East Asian agents who responded to the survey, 39% said the UK can expect’ significantly more’ students in the near future, while 24% gave the same review about the US and 15% said the same for Australia.
Moreover, since the research was conducted in the first two weeks of November, Australia has officially confirmed that borders will be open for students beginning December 15. Whereas 95% of respondents believe that student demand will recover mainly face-to-face learning in the future, 72% believe that more students are now interested in blended delivery than before the pandemic. This increasing interest of the students towards blended delivery “shows how important it is for the sector to build adaptability into teaching methods and always strive to change to meet students’ requirements where they are,” Streatfeild added.
Furthermore, the study discovered that 45 per cent of agents have noticed changes in the subjects’ students want to study, with 24 per cent indicating a greater interest in computer science and related specialities in robotics and artificial intelligence. Over the next five years, career choices in destination countries are expected to be the most important factor in decision-making, according to 27% of agents, while countries’ immigration laws will be important to 21%.