Market intelligence for international student recruitment from ICEF
11th Jan 2023

Agent survey tracks key factors for study abroad planning in China and South Asia

Short on time? Here are the highlights:
  • The latest cycle of the Navitas agent survey compares major factors in choice of study destination for students in China and South Asia
  • Agents were also asked to rate four major study destinations – the US, UK, Australia, and Canada – in relation to those key factors in student choice

The October 2022 cycle of the Navitas Agent Perception Survey provides some interesting comparisons between student markets in China and South Asia, some of which we see reflected in the charts below.

Agents report that ranking of institution remains the leading factor in choice of study destination for Chinese students; whereas cost of study is the top factor for students in South Asia. Interestingly, "cost of study" and "quality of education" are the only two factors shared by the two leading student markets, and we see notable differences in the top five factors reported for each region otherwise.

Even so, cost of study is a top-rated factor for Chinese students as well, and the data suggests that cost has grown in importance for Chinese families from earlier Navitas survey cycles from March 2021 up to the most recent survey in October 2022.

Top ten issues in response to “What are currently the most important factors influencing student choice of study destination?” – South Asia and Greater China. Source: Navitas

The most recent survey results also gather agents' perspectives on major study destinations, and how each stacks up against the key decision factors for students from the region.

For China, for example, agents rated Australia and the UK higher for "ranking of institution," while Canada and the UK holds an advantage regarding "cost of study." Australia, Canada, and the UK were rated better for safety relative to the US, with most agents giving the edge to the US and UK for "quality of education."

Top factors of influence and destinations with the greatest appeal, by factor – Greater China. Source: Navitas

"Aligned to our broader understanding of the market, the UK and US come out stronger than Canada and Australia on quality of education, and Canada and Australia dominate on opportunities for migration," says Navitas Market Insights Lead Janhvi Doshi. "This suggests that Greater China might continue to bifurcate as a market – students who care most about ranking will go to the UK or US, while students who are less focused on prestige and/or are price sensitive may select Canada or Australia."

We see some contrasting findings for South Asia in the additional charts below, where Australia and Canada are rated more strongly on the "cost of study" factor, and where Australia is also the clear leader in other key elements of student choice, including post-study work rights, opportunities to work during study, and quality of education.

"These results suggest we are going to see a continued surge in demand for Australia from South Asia in the coming months," adds Ms Doshi.

Top factors of influence and destinations with the greatest appeal, by factor – South Asia. Source: Navitas

For additional background, please see:

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