Passport Spotlight: Students in India Seek Global Education Opportunities

Flywire commissioned a research study on the state of global education in 2021. The survey polled more than a thousand college and university students from Australia, Canada, China, the UK, and the US to better understand student attitudes coming out of the first phase of the pandemic. The study highlighted students’ international education aspirations, the impacts of the rising cost of education, and the need for simpler digital payments processes and more flexible payment arrangements. These are all issues which remain relevant today.

To further complement this study, we recently commissioned the same survey with 202 adult students ages 18 and over in India. Here’s what we learned:

Indian Students Are Looking Internationally Again for Higher Education

India has been one of the largest and fastest-growing regions for international college students in the last decade, but the pandemic had a significant impact on the ability to travel outside the country. After a 55% dip in 2020, Indian students are seeking international education experiences in big numbers once again. As of January 2021, more than one million Indian students were studying in 85 countries, with more than half in North America.

In our survey of undergraduate students in India, 73% of the respondents are either already studying abroad (25%) or planning to (48%). They are motivated primarily by the opportunity for new cultural experiences, academic reputation (especially Indian women), and the on-campus experience. Value for cost and location were also mentioned by multiple respondents.

Given these motivations, it’s easy to understand why Indian students also want to be on campus. 50% of our respondents indicated a preference for in-person learning and 35% for hybrid vs. just 15% preferring to be entirely remote.

As in Other Countries, Indian Students and Their Families Are Being Impacted by the High Cost of Education

The rising cost of education is impacting students all over the world. India is no exception. 85% of the students we surveyed said they struggle to make tuition payments due to the financial impact of COVID. Not surprisingly, this is also a significant source of stress with 56% indicating that making tuition payments is stressful due to financial difficulties. Another 25% reported feeling stress as a result of unclear processes from their institution, and 19% from a lack of online payment options.

Indian Students Want Simpler and More Flexible Payment Processes

We have documented the many struggles for both students, their families, and schools in making, receiving, and reconciling international tuition payments. Indian students can relate with 82% of those surveyed believing that simplified payment processes would improve their education experience.

They also believe flexibility in how they make those payments would help provide a better experience. For instance, 80% said that the option to pay their educational bills in installments through a payment plan would help them afford those expenses. Fortunately, for 66% of the respondents, their schools already offer the option to pay in installments.

Indian Students Are Divided on What the Future Holds for Obtaining Student Visas

The pandemic made the student visa process very difficult for international students as many student visa offices closed. Indian students are mixed on how quickly we might return to a pre-pandemic environment. The majority (65%) see the student visa process changing with 44% suggesting it will get easier, 21% believing it will become more difficult. 12% are simply unsure.

Want to learn more?

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

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