Edition 173 - September 2015

Hobsons study: What attracts international students?

What factors influence a student’s decision to venture abroad for a degree? A new study by Hobsons, an education solutions company, offers a glimpse into the decision making of prospective international degree students when choosing a study destination. The survey gathered responses from 45 543 prospective international students representing 210 countries and 207 nationalities. 

The results reveal that students are seeking a combination of tangible outcomes and soft experiences. They expect their studies to provide them with the potential to boost their future earnings while at the same time allowing them opportunities to build relationships with professors and fellow students. When it comes to the choice of country, students are mainly weighing four factors: quality and recognition of qualifications, affordability, post-study employment options, and safety and hospitality. In light of these findings, the authors recommend that institutions wishing to attract more international students focus on offering programmes that equip students with marketable employability skills. 

Part of the study focused exclusively on 17 336 students who have considered studying in the UK. When asked why they ultimately decided against studying in the UK, the students most frequently cited post-study work opportunities, the ability to obtain permanent residency and employment prospects in the destination country. Instead of the UK, these students were in the end most likely to choose the US, Canada, Germany or Australia as their destination. The study therefore provides important food for thought for policy makers in the UK, where the government’s recent move to restrict post-study employment options has fuelled a debate on the benefits of international students to the higher education sector and economy in general. 

The full report can be downloaded here.

Hobsons

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