Visa Crunch

With positive projections, approximately 1.8mn Indian students to opt for foreign education by 2024

With international borders reopening and the Covid situation easing, the number of Indian students studying abroad is expected to rise in the next years, with a new estimate predicting that by 2024, over 18 lakh Indian students will have enrolled in overseas colleges and universities.

While the demand for studying abroad is growing, so is the outflow. By 2024, student spending is expected to reach $75-85 billion, which is more than double what it was in 2019. According to a survey by Bengaluru-based market research firm RedSeer, the sector had stunted growth in 2020-21 as international borders were closed to battle Covid, but it is now likely to regain speed as things return to normal. “We are bullish about this segment’s growth in the coming years. Our research shows that the total number of Indian students studying abroad will stand at around 18 lakhs by 2024,” said Abhishek Gupta, engagement manager at RedSeer. In 2019, around 7,000 students applied to study abroad.

“Around 420k students left in 2019, but the total number of applicants was around 1.7 times that. This massive increase is attributed to reasons such as increased GDP over the last two decades, which has led to increased consumption and knowledge of international education “Gupta brought up the subject. In 2016-19, outflow rates grew six times faster than domestic student growth, demonstrating the huge demand that this category is experiencing.

“In 2019 alone, around 420k students headed out but the total number of applicants was around 1.7 times. This colossal increase is due to factors like rise in GDP in the past two decades leading to more consumption and awareness about education abroad,” Gupta mentioned.

The WorldGrad, a service that aids students with their overseas education, undertook a poll of over 20,000 undergraduate hopefuls to learn more about their ambitions to study abroad after Covid-19. According to it, 81 percent of the students polled still want to study abroad, but 19 percent have postponed or abandoned their plans. In terms of popular study-abroad destinations, Canada came out on top, with 50% of students preferring the country (it has attracted over 1,40,000 Indian students due to its favorable immigration opportunities), the US was second, with 40% of students considering it, and the UK and Australia were third and fourth, respectively.

According to the report, Australia has become the least favored major destination, with student intake from India falling from around 80,000 in 2019 to less than 40,000 in 2021. There are several causes for this, but the biggest one is the travel restriction that came with Covid-19. Furthermore, 95% of students believe that getting vaccinated in India will make them more eligible for international travel, while 75% of those who have postponed plans cited financial constraints as a reason.

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