Survey: International Students Applying to More Universities & Countries Than Before

United States United Kingdom North America International Studies Higher Education News Statistics by Erudera News May 29, 2024

International Students

International students from all over the world are applying to more universities than ever, according to a global survey by INTO University Partnerships, a British education and recruitment partner helping international students connect with top universities in Australia, the UK, and the US.

The survey of 1,240 recruitment agents from 66 countries conducted in March 2024 found that 87 percent of international students submitted applications to a record number of universities. Additionally, 84 percent chose universities in more countries than a year earlier.

Over 11 percent of education agents said they had submitted applications to over 100 universities last year. Over a quarter of agents across several regions also confirmed they had helped with applications to over 60 institutions, reports.

During the past year, 78 percent of agents in China, Hong Kong, and Macau region said that when selecting a study abroad destination, the discussion mostly centers around costs.

“Even in countries like China, which have historically been perceived as having greater price insensitivity and much less reliance on scholarships, 78 percent of agents felt cost was increasingly a factor in decision-making,” the INTO Global Agent Report of 2024 reads.

This has also been reported in other regions, with 90 percent of agents in Europe and Central Asia, 85 percent in the Middle East and Africa, and 90 percent in South Asia highlighting the same: the focus is mainly on cost.

Findings revealed an increasing popularity in destinations outside the "Big Four" English-speaking destinations of Australia, Canada, the UK, and the US.

Agents in the South Asia, Middle East, and Africa regions mentioned Europe as the most popular place among international students to study, with Germany and Ireland cited more often due to affordability and post-study work opportunities.

“Because [Europe is] more affordable they are ready to take risks regarding post-study work. The schools teach Spanish, German, and many more as a second language,” an agent from the United Arab Emirates said.

Another agent from China confirmed an increase in inquiries in Singapore over the past two years, particularly because of the affordability and because the country is "close to home."

“Parents want to find schools with low fees and high rankings that are close to home.” an agent from Hong Kong said.

According to the survey, career opportunities are especially important for international students. 87 percent of agents mentioned them as a crucial factor during the decision-making process, an increase of five points from the previous year.

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