According to new QS global research, the launch of COVID vaccinations has strengthened the commitment of prospective foreign students to study abroad, and many students now wish to begin their studies earlier than they had expected due to vaccine availability. According to the findings, a vast majority (71%) would prefer to quarantine in a host country in order to learn in person rather than stay home and take online courses (29%); and over two-thirds (68%) of people would take the coronavirus vaccine if it was given to them, and 43% would have it in their home country prior to travelling if it was necessary. QS has also looked at the relative attractiveness of top study abroad destinations and discovered that the UK’s reputation has improved significantly by 2021. As a result of the UK’s vaccine rollout, almost half (47%) of students surveyed who had been contemplating studying in the UK became more involved.
For its 2021 International Student Survey, QS worked with 115 universities around the world to collect feedback from more than 105,000 prospective students in 191 countries. They then merged the findings with the outcome of their current Coronavirus Student Survey (CSS). Nick Hillman, Director of the Higher Education Policy Institute, said, “The results of this year’s QS International Student Survey are compelling. The Survey is large, covers people from pretty much the whole world and includes qualitative information alongside the hard numbers. It is also more revealing than ever, given the enormous changes that have beset staff, students and institutions in recent months.”
More than half of the students polled (56%) said the treatment of the coronavirus outbreak by various governments had caused them to rethink where they would study. Vaccine rollouts are expected to have a major impact on university enrolments in 2021. According to the Coronavirus Student Survey (CSS) conducted by QS, 1 in 5 prospective students (19%) choose to start their studies sooner than expected as a result of the vaccine’s launch. The vaccination rollout in the United Kingdom seems to be grabbing the attention of students who are contemplating studying there. According to the QS survey, 17% of those students believe the UK has done a better job of administering the vaccine than other nations, including top rivals such as the United States, Canada, and Australia.
QS notes, “It is vital that universities are able to leverage the benefits of this when communicating with their prospective international students as the success of vaccination programmes domestically is likely to have a direct correlation with the ability to open the country’s borders to international students.” They also add, “For international students, the success of the vaccination programme can only be realised once it allows a lifting of social restrictions so that university campuses can open for face-to-face teaching, only then will they be able to truly appreciate its benefits.”
More than half of the students polled (58%) think the United Kingdom is being more accepting, which is marginally higher than the percentage who believe the same about Canada (56 per cent). This is significant because, apart from high-quality teaching, students think most about a country’s willingness to welcome them (52 per cent) (60 per cent). On this aspect of its image, the United Kingdom is faring much better than the United States.