Passport Spotlight: Higher Ed Students in Spain Eager for More Flexible Payment Options

Flywire commissioned a research study on the state of global education in 2021. We polled more than a thousand higher ed students from Australia, Canada, China, the UK, and the US to better understand their attitudes coming out of the first phase of the pandemic. The study highlighted students’ international education aspirations, the impact of the rising cost of education, and the need for simpler and more flexible payment processes.

To further complement this study, we also conducted the same survey with 202 students in India and 211 in Spain. Here’s what we learned from students in Spain.

International Education Remains Very Popular

While Spain is not among the largest origination markets for international students, it is a very consistent one. More than 44,000 Spanish students pursued their higher education abroad in the 2020/21 school year according to IIE, only slightly higher than the number (42,002) during the 2019/20 school year. Over the years, that rate has remained very steady — with most students attending schools in EU countries such as Italy, France, Germany, and Poland.

That interest in international education is reflected in our research as well. 86% of the Spanish students surveyed are either currently studying abroad or planning to — the highest rate of any other country we reported on. China and India were the closest with 76% and 73% respectively.

Spanish students are motivated primarily by new cultural experiences (56%), the academic reputation of schools in other countries (45%), and the on-campus experience (32%) afforded by international education. Male Spanish students in particular mentioned academic reputation.

Given their motivations, it’s not surprising that these students want to be on campus. When asked about their preferred learning methods, 60% stated a preference for in-person learning, 27% for hybrid, and just 13% for virtual.

Spanish Students Are Feeling Financial Pressures

As in other countries, Spanish students and their families have felt the impact of the high cost of higher education during the pandemic. 70% struggled to make education payments, and over half considered delaying their education as a result. An even higher percentage (92%) of Spanish students say they need help affording their education expenses.

To help address those challenges, Spanish students would like to see more flexible and simpler payment options:

  • 82% of those surveyed believe installment payment options, i.e., payment plans would help make their education more affordable.
  • 86% believe that the ability to pay their tuition digitally, in their local currency, and/or via their preferred payment method, would improve their higher education experience and reduce some of the stress involved with making those payments.

Spanish Students Are Relatively Optimistic About Obtaining Student Visas in the Future

When the pandemic closed many student visa offices and travel restrictions were imposed, the student visa process became very difficult. As the political climate shifts, vaccination rates increase, and travel restrictions are slowly lifted, almost half of Spanish students (48%) believe it will get easier to obtain a student visa. Just 21% believe it will become more difficult, and 22% think it will remain about the same while 6% are unsure.

Want to learn more?

View the complete results of our survey in Spain, and the rest of the world here.

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