Editorial Team

The majority of Indian education counsellors and agents expect to send more students to universities in the UK, the US, Australia and Canada in the 2022-23 academic year than in 2021-22, a global survey by INTO University Partnerships shows.

A total of 104 Indian recruitment agents participated in one of the biggest global surveys of its kind, carried out in May 2022. From Indonesia to Brazil, 1,473 agents from over 80 countries took part in the research.

More than nine out of ten Indian agents (93%) expect to send more students to the UK in the upcoming academic year than they did last year, with nearly two thirds expecting to send significantly more. Meanwhile, 71% expect to send more students to Australia, 87% to Canada and 92% to the US.

The study abroad demand confidence among Indian education agents is higher than the global average. More than four out of five agents globally — 82% — expect to send more students to the UK in the upcoming academic year than they did last year. Meanwhile, 63% expect to send more students to Australia, 59% to Canada and 65% to the US.

The global results represent a significant improvement in agent expectations this time last year, when COVID-19-related travel restrictions continued to pose significant barriers to international education. Just 65% of agents expected to send more students to the UK last year, 44% to Canada, 34% to the US and 27% to Australia, according to a spring 2021 INTO survey.

“The survey findings indicate the green shoots of recovery for the whole international education sector after more than two years of disruption. Our research clearly shows students are increasingly confident that now is the time to pursue an international degree, and more than ever they are looking for quality education to transform their lives,” said Olivia Streatfeild, CEO of INTO University Partnerships.

In addition, 84% of agents surveyed say the international students with whom they work are primarily motivated to study abroad because of better quality of education available in major destination countries, 78% say they are motivated by improved employment prospects and 58% by the chance to gain an international perspective. More than half of agent respondents say their students are motivated to study abroad by post-study work opportunities.

“Employability has emerged as one of the most significant drivers for studying abroad for aspirants today. International students are increasingly willing to cross oceans and continents to further their career prospects. To ensure they get the return on investment they deserve, we must deliver programs that give them the career head start they need to succeed,” said Ms. Streatfeild.

“At INTO, our focus is not only to support students to achieve their academic ambitions, but also to help them go further and faster with their career goals. Our CareerFirst program gives students access to expert support, training and work experience, so they get every advantage in today’s competitive job market.”

Millions of students leave their home countries to study abroad each year. In 2019, 6.2 million students crossed borders for higher education. The global economic impact of international students is estimated to be in excess of US$350 billion.

Diwakar Chandiok, INTO’s Vice President, Recruitment, for South Asia, said: “Post pandemic, we are witnessing an encouraging trend in the international education sector. More and more students from India are going overseas for high-quality higher education, for an advantage in pursuing their dream career and for the opportunity to expand their worldview. Our mission is to be a catalyser in that process — to help students access life-changing educational and professional experiences in the university and country of their choice.”

Indian agents continue to be overwhelmingly positive about the UK as a study destination. 93% of the agents feel positive about the country’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, 98% feel positive about how welcoming and safe it is for international students and 95% feel positive about how open its borders are to international students.

Positive sentiment toward the US and Australia trails that toward the UK in some areas, but the difference has narrowed since 2021.  A total of 70% of agents feel positive about how Australia has handled the COVID-19 pandemic, whilst 80% feel positive about the approach in the US. The US fairs well with Indian agents when it comes to how welcoming and safe it is for international students, with 89% of agents feeling positive. In the wake of border closures lasting most of the pandemic, Australia falls behind in terms of how open its borders are to international students, with only 75% of agents feeling positive. However, agents clearly anticipate a rebound in student demand for Australian universities.

Australia and the UK garner more positive sentiment than the US for its post-study work opportunities, with 96% of agents feeling positive for both. Meanwhile, 89% feel positive about those in the US.

Highlights from the survey:

  • 93% of Indian education agents expect to send more students to the UK in the coming year than they did the previous year.
  • 92% of Indian education agents expect to send more students to the US in the coming year than they did the previous year.
  • 71% of Indian education agents expect to send more students to Australia in the coming year than they did the previous year.
  • 87% of Indian education agents expect to send more students to Canada in the coming year than they did the previous year.
  • 84% of Indian education agents say students are motivated to study abroad because of better quality of education, 78% say that the students are motivated by better employment prospects, 58% say they are motivated by the chance to gain an international perspective and 56% say they are motivated by post-study work opportunities.
  • 93% of Indian education agents feel positive about how the UK has handled the pandemic, 98% feel positive about how welcoming and safe it is for international students and 95% feel positive about how open its borders are for international students.
  • 80% of Indian education agents feel positive about how the US has handled the pandemic, 89% feel positive about how welcoming and safe it is for international students and 91% feel positive about how open its borders are for international students.
  • 70% of Indian education agents feel positive about how Australia has handled the pandemic, 93% feel positive about how welcoming and safe it is for international students and 75% feel positive about how open its borders are for international students.
  • 96% of Indian education agents feel positive about post-study work opportunities in Australia, 96% feel positive about those in the UK and 89% feel positive about those in the US.

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