Pandemic affected study abroad landscape: INTO University survey


Posted on 14 Dec 2021 19:55 PM

INTO Universities Partnerships has released the findings of its global survey on how the pandemic has changed the foreign education landscape.

Blended lessons, financial support from universities and career outcomes are among the factors determining students’ choice of institution, according to the survey.

About 80% of education counsellors and agents globally have registered changes in the factors influencing students’ and parents’ decision-making around study abroad because of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the global survey by INTO University partnerships.

A total of 1,126 agents from 79 countries participated in the survey carried out over the first two weeks of November 2021. The countries represented include India, China, Indonesia, Vietnam, Nigeria and Brazil.

Nearly 76% of the agents in India think some aspects of choosing to study abroad for a university education have changed as a result of COVID-19. For nearly all the agents (above 88%), the students and parents with whom they work are increasingly price-sensitive, focusing on scholarships and other forms of financial aid as they weigh their options. At the same time, around 82% of the agents surveyed note students and parents are far more focused on career outcomes than they were pre-COVID-19, and 65% say their clients demand stronger return on investment.

“Our global survey has shown that there has been a significant shift in the way students all over the world are approaching foreign education,” said Diwakar Chandiok, recruitment director, South Asia, INTO University Partnerships. “Students are increasingly looking at universities that offer higher return on investment, scholarships and degree outcomes/job opportunities clearly reflects the new terrain and accommodating their demands will be critical to continue recovery,” he said.

About 87% agents anticipate that student demand will return to primarily face-to-face learning moving forward. However, 60% somewhat agree that more students are now interested in blended delivery.

“It is a welcome news for the higher education sector that students continue to prioritise in-person study-abroad experiences. Also, it is equally important to note that a significant number of students are interested in blended delivery, which has emerged as a technology-driven response to the pandemic. It demonstrates how critical it is for the sector to build flexibility into education delivery — and always adapt to meet students’ needs where they are,” said Olivia Streatfeild, CEO, INTO University Partnerships.

Agents are very positive about the UK as a study destination. Over 69% feel positive about how welcoming and safe the country is for international students and 63% feel positive about how the UK government has handled the COVID-19 vaccine rollout.

Agent lookout toward the US is comparatively less favourable. A total of 66% feel positive about how welcoming the country is to international students and 55% feel positive about the government’s handling of the vaccine rollout.

Moreover, 71% of agents in India are expected to send more students to the UK in the coming year, slightly higher than for the US (66%).