Despite the rise of new study-abroad destinations such as Ireland, Germany, Denmark and France, traditional countries such as the US, the UK, Canada and Australia remain popular with Indian students. In fact, a recent report noted that the number of Indians pursuing postgraduate studies in the US has surpassed the Chinese, and Indians are now the largest source of international graduate students in the US. Kunal Mehra, country head, Crimson Education – a boutique consulting firm – shared with FE’s Vikram Chaudhary post-Covid-19 study-abroad trends. Excerpts:
Which are the most popular study-abroad destinations for Indian students post-Covid-19, and why?
Even as the US has slightly slipped in popularity for Indian students, it remains the most popular. At Crimson Education, we have seen a marked increase in applications to the UK and other top European destinations like Germany, Denmark and France, with Singapore, Australia, New Zealand and Ireland also making the cut.
The popularity of these countries can be attributed to their education systems, renowned faculty, attractive post-study work opportunities, research facilities, abundant scholarship options and ease of communication.
Post-Covid-19, how many Indian students have gone abroad for studies cumulatively?
In 2022, it is estimated that 1,324,954 Indian students studied abroad (physically on campus, as well as online studies) – it’s important to note that the actual number may vary due to travel restrictions and visa policies imposed by countries because of the Covid-19 pandemic. The top five preferred destinations for students in 2023 were the US, Canada, Australia, the UK and Germany. These countries collectively constituted 72.5% of the student population studying abroad. Specifically, the US had 212,693 students, while Canada followed closely with around 207,000 students, from India.
Which country/region has fallen out of favour for Indian students?
It appears that Canada is losing favour with Indian students, due to recent political difficulties. And this has created much apprehension for parents and students alike.
Have overall global study-abroad trends changed post-Covid-19?
A new report from the Common Application – the college admission app – suggests 2023-24 will be a better admissions year for more institutions than last year. Through January 1, 2023, as many as 1,079,936 distinct first-year applicants had applied to 841 returning members of the Common App, an increase of 20% from 903,553 in 2019-20. Total application volume through January 1 rose 24% from 2019-20 (4,317,709) to 2022-23 (5,346,600).
The number of distinct international applicants increased at nearly triple the rate of applicants in the US since 2019-20 (45% versus 17%). The leading countries were China, India, Nigeria, Ghana and Canada.
The number of students submitting SAT or ACT scores seems to have settled. The Common App experienced ‘a steep decline’ in those submitting scores from 2019-20 (78%) to 2020-21 (44%) and a slight rebound in 2021-22 (48%). Only 47% of those who have applied have submitted SAT or ACT scores. Applications grew more at public institutions (39%) than at private institutions (3%).