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International Students See ‘Value Gap’ In US Higher Education: Study

International students wholeheartedly recommend studying in the United States but are more sceptical that American education will pay off in their careers, according to a recent survey.

These somewhat contradictory findings were the result of research commissioned by the company Interstride. Interstride is a digital platform that supports the educational and career goals of international students.

The company commissioned higher-education consultant Anna Esaki-Smith of Education Rethink to survey more than 1,000 students from over 100 countries about their experiences and perceptions involving their American education. Esaki-Smith published her results in a paper titled “Is studying in the US worth it?”

The survey revealed a “distinct dynamic,” said Esaki-Smith.

“We have international students who value the U.S. study abroad experience, drawn to the country by the stellar reputation of US colleges and universities,” she said. “But what we offer in terms of tangible value to students through the lens of career outcomes is not as clear to these students.”

Eighty-four per cent of respondents said they would recommend studying in the US to friends and peers back home. This is good news for US institutions, given that word-of-mouth marketing is a powerful recruitment tool among international students. Yet, only 49% of respondents said that the value of a US education from a career perspective justifies the cost.

Esaki-Smith said the higher-education community must close the perceived “value gap.” She identified recommendations that included: 

  • More outreach by career centres to engage international students in career readiness services.  
  • Build upon students’ existing positive attitude towards the US study experience by providing both emotional and professional support.
  • Develop closer relationships with US employers that could potentially hire international graduates.

Interstride commissioned the research to learn about international student sentiment heading into a post-pandemic environment.

Legal Disclaimer: This article is provided for information purposes only.

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