Western Universities are Expected to See Declining Numbers of Asian Students

The number of Asian students coming to the west to study in universities is expected to decline, while simultaneously increase in Asian countries, according to a QS report.

There are most likely many reasons for this. One could be visa issues before attending university while attending, and after graduation.

To find out, QS conducted a study in several Asian countries to test what could be causing enrollment of Asian students in universities in Western countries. In the study, students were asked to perform tasks related to various destination possibilities. One of the tasks was to match post-study work visa options with the country that they were from.

They would have to try and figure out how to get a work visa to stay and work in any of the given choices after they graduate. The countries involved in the test were Germany, the Netherlands, the Republic of Ireland, the UK, US, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

The test exposed a lack of knowledge and possible non-transparency on how to actually get the visas. This should be of concern because post-graduation work visas are usually a huge deciding factor when a prospective student is deciding where to go; for some, it can even outweigh education quality and school reputation.

The task also found a lack of information about what visa options are actually available to them.

“Prospective students in Asia were the most likely to correctly match the US visa, followed by Germany. New Zealand, the Republic of Ireland, the UK, and Australia were only correctly matched once during the entire trip in Asia, whilst France and the Netherlands were never correctly matched. Focus group participants in Kuala Lumpur did not get a single visa right, and in the rest of the cities visited only half of the focus groups got some countries right. This reveals a concerning lack of knowledge about post-study work visas, and it is something that HE sectors worldwide should be addressing,” the report read.

Another deterrent from attending a western university could also be the steady rise of tuition costs over the years, particularly in the US. In the US, tuition fees have more than doubled on average at public institutions since the 1960’s.

Asian students are also becoming increasingly more inclined to study closer to home. “When looking at the QS 2019 International Student Survey, in which there is an extensive pool of participants, the top five study destinations for Asian applicants are as follows; Australia (70%), UK (36%), US (32%), Canada (23%), and New Zealand (18%). Additionally, Singapore (17%), Japan (14%), Hong Kong (10%), and China (10%) all closely follow, showing that Asian study destinations are indeed appearing in the top ten study destinations for Asian applicants. Moreover, the overwhelming preference for Australia suggests that international Asian students are keen to study close to home when going abroad,” read the QS report.

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