Perspectives on higher education payments from students in India

Students want guidance on how to pay, payment plan options from their institutions

Students in India are seeking undergraduate study abroad opportunities that offer a better educational value, different on-campus experiences and internships and job opportunities, and are looking to education agents to help them select institutions, according to recent Flywire research.

This was one of the many insights on the experiences and attitudes of students in India that came out of Flywire’s latest research exploring the attitudes and experience of 1,800+ students from nine countries around the world.

Students in India are eager for higher education experiences, but have unique issues when it comes to pursuing and paying for their higher education.

There is a lot of interest in international study in India, and education agent use is common.

  • Nearly 8 out of 10 students in India have studied abroad, are currently doing so, or plan to. That is higher than any other country except Peru (84%).
  • Better educational value is the top driver for traveling overseas for education (60%). But a different on-campus experience (40%), internship/job opportunities (37%) and academic reputation (37%) offered by international schools are also important drivers.
  • Almost a third of students in India are likely to say they have worked with an education agent, and 80% believe working with an education agent makes it easier to decide where to study. In fact, institution selection is one of the most common services these students received from agents. Application support and payment advice were also common areas of support.

The education payment process is complex, and they want guidance from their institutions and agents on how to pay.

  • 85% say that making education payments has been a significant stressor for either themselves or their families - more than students from any other country surveyed.
  • That stress is largely attributed to financial difficulties (52%), but 1 in 4 students in India say this stress is caused either by a lack of convenient payment options, or too many competing options.
  • With an average of more than 15 different payment vendors/options available to them, it is no surprise. That is more than twice any other country surveyed and almost 4X the number of options available to students in the U.K.
  • 94% believe that having access to a simplified payment process would improve their higher education experience by making the payment process faster, more convenient, more secure and less stressful.
  • 76% of students in India want their institution to simplify the payment process by recommending a provider.

Security, convenience and parent preference top reasons when selecting payment methods.

  • Students in India pay tuition by bank transfer/eCheck from their bank (34%), cash (33%) and debit card (19%).
  • Given the option, students in India would shift their payment choices slightly to bank transfer/eCheck from bank (25%), cash (19%), debit card (17%), credit card 12%, and PayPal (10%).
  • The use of cash by students in India (33%) is high compared to other countries. And at just 4%, credit card use is lower than any other country.
  • When asked the reason for their choice, students cite: security (44%), convenience (38%) and parent’s preference (37%), closely followed by school’s suggestion (32%).

The cost of higher education is a challenge for students in India. They want more options to pay in installments.

  • 93% of students in India-more than any other country-say that paying in installments would help them afford their education.
  • In fact, where they are offered, 9 in 10 students either have, do or would consider using a payment plan for their education expenses.
  • 84% say they need help affording their education expenses—second only to students in the U.K. (85%) and just ahead of Australia (83%).

Students in India are more likely to switch to a less expensive school to mitigate the effects of recent global economic events.

  • 77% of students have thought about making, or have already made some change regarding their education as a result of recent global economic events. That’s a higher level than any other country in our survey.
  • 31% switched to a less expensive school, almost 3x as many as students from any other country. And 21% have taken time off from school – higher than every other country except Canada (21% also).
Indian College Student

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