While the quality of higher education in India is improving, the number of students who prefer studying abroad still continues to increase. Countries like the UK, the USA, Canada, Australia, and many parts of Europe have been favourite study destinations for the longest time.
When the pandemic hit, there was an obvious skepticism about whether or not higher education abroad would continue to thrive. There was the possibility that students would pursue their higher education in their home countries or put their study plans on hold till the situation gets better. And even though the number of students going abroad went down in 2020, it wasn’t an alarming number as projected. Students mainly started studying at foreign universities remotely and some of them opted to wait a year.
Let's look at some of the latest statistics of Indian students and their study abroad plans.
According to the Ministry of External Affairs, in 2019, the number of Indian students who opted to go abroad for their higher education was close to 600,000. Back in 2016, this number was 300,000 - so that's a 100% increase! In 2021, that number stands at a whopping 11,00,000. That's almost another 100% increase from the 2019 figure. In 2020, of course, this number went down from the 2019 average but it was still a decent 260,000. Many students' families were financially affected during the pandemic but because of easy payment options, financial aid and scholarships, the number of students going abroad to study even during a pandemic stayed close to the average. Another great factor was the way these countries handled the global crisis - extending vaccinations to international students.
Out of the total, 55000 students go to the UK, 200,000 go to the USA, 92,000 opt for Australia and another 200,000 choose Canada. The rest pick lesser-known study destinations like China, Germany, France, and the UAE, among others.
Over 60,000 students get in touch with us every year for accommodation overseas. We surveyed a small sample of 800 of these students to understand their reasons for pursuing higher education overseas. They listed better post-study opportunities and healthcare as their primary reasons for wanting to study abroad. With over 37 million being the higher education student population in India, and this number growing by 8 lakh every year, it's only logical that parents will want to send their kids abroad to study if it's in their paying capacity. The immigration policies in countries like Canada, New Zealand, Australia and the UK have become lenient over the past years, making it economical to migrate. This has motivated many families who fall under the middle class and upper-middle-class brackets to consider sending their kids abroad to study. The opportunities to earn a better living and the quality of life offered by these countries make the investment worthwhile. Hence, contrary to the fact that only the rich send their kids overseas, which was the case earlier, today, families from various economic backgrounds are willing to send their kids abroad to study.
The authorities are keeping a close eye on the number of students who opt to move out of the country to study. And while they can't do much about it other than improve the quality of education here, they are trying to entice the student crowd to come back to India after completing their overseas education. Efforts are being made to create more high-paying jobs so that we don’t lose our talent to other countries. However, the truth remains that globalisation has made education borderless. When you get more opportunities at a cheaper investment, it's quite clear that people will want to pursue it. At University Living, we strive to help students transition smoothly into their new student journey, whatever destination they choose. It's a new beginning and the experience should be nothing but magical. And we're here to ensure that this journey is all that they want it to be!