Edition 60 - April 2006

Report online: ACA study on Perceptions of European Higher Education

The European Commission has just released the online version of the ACA study “Perceptions of European higher education in third countries”. The study, completed in December 2005, aims to establish if and how it would be possible to market European higher education, and to identify the key messages and possible delivery mechanisms for a “European higher education brand”.

The study was realised through large-scale surveys and interviews with students and other stakeholders in six “target countries” (Brazil, Mexico, China, India, Russia and Thailand), as well as, on-line, world-wide. Additionally, international students in the US were asked why they had chosen to study there, and not in the EU. With about 20,000 respondents, this was one of the largest surveys of its kind ever conducted.

What are the most important results of this substantial piece of work?

  • Europe is viewed as a union in an economic and political respect, but not in terms of higher education. When it comes to higher education, the perception focuses on the continent’s individual countries, and mostly on the larger ones.
  • Europe’s higher education institutions received good marks. But on a number of issues, such as prestige of institutions, labour-market acceptance of qualifications, and dynamism and innovation force, it came out second to the US.
  • The most important factors influencing the decision for a destination were quality of education, reputation and prestige of the institution and of the degrees earned, as well as affordability, and safety.
  • Respondents saw a clear lack of information on study opportunities in Europe.

ACA carried out this study in collaboration with the Gesellschaft für Empirische Studien (Kassel, Germany). The study would not have been possible without the strong support of the local offices and marketing experts from ACA members, to whom ACA is extremely grateful. The results, as well as those of the Eurodata project, will be presented at the annual ACA conference “Destination Europe?”, to take place in Bergen, Norway, on 18 to 20 June (see separate article). The Commission has announced to publish the print version before the summer break.

Perceptions of European Higher Education in Third Countries

 

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