Acumen: Indian students branching out from big four study destinations

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The report from Acumen saw over 100 education agents across India participate through an online questionnaire and interviews.

Although two-thirds of the agents surveyed maintained that the US (80%), the UK (79%) and Australia (77%) remain top study destinations, 82% and 73% believe that, respectively, Germany and France are key developing destination markets.

These nations are followed by Dubai (50%), Finland (41%), Singapore (31%), Italy (30%), Sweden (24%), and Denmark (21%) as the emerging study abroad markets for Indian students, the report found.

In light of shifts in student demand post-Covid and migration policy adjustments, the driving factors influencing students to study overseas are varied, the report said

While 57% of the agents said tuition fees and scholarships make up the topmost factors in international student recruitment post-Covid, immigration policies (54%), employment opportunities (51%), university rankings and reputation (50%) also figure among major considerations for students.

More than 40% of agents believe students are also increasingly prioritising the ease of application process, prompt turnaround time and health and safety issues before making their move abroad.

Surprisingly, the report highlighted that only 31% of the agents believe accommodation is a major driver for students, despite changing international student policies in countries like Australia and Canada being closely linked with their housing crises.

Agents now prioritise clear value demonstrations and robust risk mitigation strategies, such as rigorous checks on student documentation and credentials, and ensuring strong English proficiency.

Acumen

Fraudulent documents have been a major concern among students and international education stakeholders in India.

While forged admission letters led to deportation cases against many Indian students in Canada last year, Germany introduced the APS – an academic evaluation process – in 2022 for Indians wishing to study in the country amid a rise in fake applications.

“Agents now prioritise clear value demonstrations and robust risk mitigation strategies, such as rigorous checks on student documentation and credentials, and ensuring strong English proficiency,” said the Acumen report.

Despite India’s major tier one cities Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, and Chennai often seeing some of the biggest study abroad fairs in the country, tier three cities such as Roorkee, Rohtak, Udaipur, and Salem are generating the most applications for studying overseas, according to 88% of respondents to Acumen’s survey.

Tier one cities rank second at 75%, with tier two cities like Amritsar, Bhopal, Chandigarh, Raipur, and Kochi generating a moderate number of applications, according to 50% of agents.

States such as Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Kerala, Punjab, and Gujarat as well as smaller towns including Vijayawada, Guntur, Visakhapatnam, Rohtak, Roorkee, Jammu, Patiala, Indore, Bhopal, and Kaithal are emerging as significant contributors to the international student market, the report has highlighted.

The majority of the agents surveyed (63%) stated that they received most applications for postgraduate courses, with 33% receiving both of postgraduate and undergraduate applications equally, and a mere 4% dealing with undergraduate applications exclusively.

Over 70% agreed engineering and IT, business, and health sciences dominate course choices among Indian students with nursing, humanities, and arts accounting for a moderate share of applicants.

But major policy updates in the US, UK, Australia, New Zealand and Canada have left agents divided on the potential impact on students from India.

Most agents expected a drop of 20-30% in applications to the UK market due to policy updates, including a substantial increase in the Immigration Health Surcharge and changes in UK student visa rules on sponsoring dependents for non-research masters and undergraduate students.

Meanwhile, a 10-40% drop could be expected for the Australian market, according to the agents surveyed. The Australian government has released a new migration strategy leading to a reduction in post-study work rights, an increase in financial requirements for visa applicants, and minimum English language standards.

Canada, which once surpassed other key destinations in attracting Indian students, could see up to a 50% drop in applications due to a two-year temporary study permit cap, and increased cost of living requirements, according to the agents surveyed.

The post Acumen: Indian students branching out from big four study destinations appeared first on The PIE News.

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