Higher education abroad is booming for Indian students after the epidemic

While the quality of higher education in India is improving, the number of students who prefer to study abroad is still increasing. Countries like the UK, USA, Canada, Australia and many parts of Europe have long been the favorite places to study.

When the epidemic struck, there were clear doubts as to whether higher education abroad would continue. There was a possibility that students would pursue higher education in their home country or postpone their study plans until conditions improved. And although the number of students going abroad decreased in 2020, it was not a worrying number as expected. The students started studying remotely mainly in foreign universities and some of them preferred to wait for a year.

Let’s take a look at some of the latest statistics of Indian students and their study plans abroad.

According to the Ministry of External Affairs, in 2019, the number of Indian students choosing to go abroad for higher education was close to 600,000. In 2016, that number was 300,000 – that’s a 100% increase! In 2021, that number is a staggering 11,00,000. This is another 100% increase over the 2019 figures. In 2020, of course, that number fell below the 2019 average but it was still a decent 260,000. The families of many students were financially affected during the outbreak, but the number of students going abroad remained close to average even during the outbreak due to easy payment options, financial aid and scholarships. There was another big factor in how these countries handled the global crisis – vaccinating international students.

In total, 55,000 students go to the UK, 200,000 to the USA, 92,000 to Australia and 200,000 to Canada. The rest choose lesser-known study sites, such as China, Germany, France and the UAE.

More than 60,000 students contact us every year to live abroad. We surveyed a small sample of 800 of these students to understand their reasons for pursuing higher education abroad. They have listed the best opportunities and healthcare after their studies for wanting to study abroad. India has a population of over 37 lakh students pursuing higher education and this number is increasing by 8 lakh every year, it is only logical that parents want to send their children abroad if they can afford it. Immigration policies in countries such as Canada, New Zealand, Australia and the UK have become more liberal over the past few years, making migration more profitable. This has led many middle-class and upper-middle-class families to consider sending their children abroad for education. Investments are profitable because of the opportunities for better living and the living standards offered by these countries. Therefore, only rich people send their children abroad, which was the case in the past, today, families from different economic backgrounds are ready to send their children to study abroad.

Officials are keeping a close eye on the number of students who choose to go abroad for 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 body to return to India after completing their foreign education. We are trying to create more high paying jobs so that we do not lose our talent to other countries. However, the truth is that globalization has made education limitless. When you get more opportunities in cheap investing, it is clear that people want to pursue it. At University Living, we try to help students transition smoothly into their new student journey, no matter what destination they choose. This is a new beginning and the experience should be nothing but magic. And we’re here to make sure the journey is what they want!

About the author

Author: Saurabh Arora

An entrepreneur from New Delhi, India, I founded University Living in 2015 with my friend and former roommate, Mayank Maheshwari. University Living is a global student housing managed marketplace that has happily accommodated 1.5 million students so far. The personal experience of not being able to find suitable accommodation for students during an exchange program in Nottingham, UK led me to notice the gap between demand and supply in the student housing sector, in which I saw business opportunities, if taken properly, had the potential to express immense gratitude to all stakeholders.

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