Despite the pandemic, international students are flocking to Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States in historic numbers, according to a new study from Victoria University’s Mitchell Institute. However, Australia and New Zealand tend to see a significant reduction in new overseas students.
The survey looked at five significant worldwide student destinations: Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States. It was discovered that the first surges of the pandemic resulted in a significant drop in incoming overseas students. Countries that have opened their doors to international students, on the other hand, have rebounded strongly.
The study indicates a complicated situation in which the pandemic impacted international students from all over the world in diverse ways. The number of new Chinese students is still lower than it was before the pandemic. However, in other source nations, such as India and Nigeria, numbers are at all-time highs. International education is a fundamental element of how many governments handle education expenditures.
The study stresses governments’ growing attention on luring overseas students. In order to determine the impact of the pandemic on prospective international students, we studied student visa data. Study permit statistics are a key indicator because most students require a visa before enrolling.
The pandemic reduced the number of new students in all countries. However, some people have been hit harder than others. The United Kingdom has recovered the most quickly. It has a record number of new international students which is 38% more than before Covid.
The disruption caused by the pandemic can be obscured by annual data. This is due to countries imposing varying levels of limitations throughout 2020 and 2021, causing usual enrolment trends to shift. Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States all saw drops of more than 80%.
For the available data on student visas, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States had recovered to record levels by the September 2021 quarter. This might be excellent news for countries that have lost students to other countries, such as Australia and New Zealand. The rapid return to an upward trend in Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States implies that there is pent-up demand among students waiting for borders to open.
If this is the case, new overseas students should enrol in greater numbers as travel to Australia and New Zealand becomes more accessible.
During a pandemic, events in students’ home countries will also have an impact on their decisions. The study investigated the influence of the pandemic on new international students based on their origin country. Nigeria has recovered the most, owing partly to a rise in Nigerian students studying in the United Kingdom.
New overseas students from India have also surged by roughly 27% since the pandemic began. This growth can be attributed to changes in student preferences. In the year to September 2021, the number of Indian overseas students studying in Australia declined by 62 per cent compared to 2019. In contrast, the number of new Indian international students in the UK more than doubled, increasing by 174 per cent.
India has surpassed China as the leading source of overseas students.
Overseas education analysis can be a numbers game, with discussions centred on changes in enrollment and the economic contribution of international students. However, there are significant policy ramifications. For example, there has been substantial discussion concerning the impact of geopolitical tensions on international student selection.
According to the findings, the decrease in Chinese overseas students is most likely attributable to administrative barriers and travel limitations. International students also make a significant contribution to total spending in the education sector. Tuition from overseas students accounts for around 27 per cent of total university revenue in Australia.
The loss of international students can have a significant impact on educational institutions, particularly universities. In the aftermath of a pandemic, governments are looking to expand and strengthen their global educational areas.
The Biden administration in the United States pledged a “renewed commitment to foreign education” in July 2021. By 2030, the UK government hopes to have increased the value of international education by 75%.
Despite the fact that the pandemic has had a significant influence on international education, the stage is set for a comeback to a highly competitive worldwide market.