The $433 billion milestone in international education

Studying abroad holds great promise for internationally accredited degrees, exposure, career growth, global networking and unparalleled opportunities etc. What was once a niche market has now become accessible to a wider audience. This is due to increased opportunities, awareness, study-abroad facilitators, loan accessibility, new destinations and technology. Representing $196 Billion worth of annual expenditure in 2019 alone, the study-abroad sector is again mobilizing and witnessing a massive resurgence in this post-crisis world. The industry is forecasted to reach $433 Billion by 2030.

The growing demand for studying abroad was initially a direct result of pent-up demands for the two years lost to the pandemic but the sector continues to gain followers thanks to digitization, increased global opportunities and the opening up of global markets post-pandemic. According to the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), as of 2022, approximately 13 lakh Indian students are studying abroad. This growing mobility of students and the continued growth of industries can be attributed to the following two key factors-

Hybrid study

The Covid-19 outbreak forced all industries to pivot to the digitization and education was no different. Universities, which once traditionally face-to-face teaching, have now accelerated their digital capability into a hybrid learning model with a blend of online and face-to-face options for students. Besides concentrating on ongoing courses, universities were also offering online programs and these courses gained momentum during 2020 and 2021. Post-pandemic, international students who were unable to travel, have been afforded the flexibility of studying online options. This is allowing students to reduce their costs and begin their international education from their home country and then join the course on campus at a later date. This trend has caught on and will witness increasing growth in 2023. Learning is predicted to continue due to the greater flexibility that it offers students. In most cases, the blended learning model will still allow students to be eligible for post-graduation work rights in the destination education country of choice.

Industry-empowered education

One of the main reasons for students to study abroad is the job opportunities it offers. The study abroad experience broadens one’s horizons and it is this advantage that drives most students to study abroad. Post-Covid, as countries rebuild their economy and industries, there is an unprecedented increase in demand for graduates in specialist courses. A few of these are STEM, Health and Education. Empowering economies requires a skilled workforce. Universities are a training ground for a highly skilled workforce and employers are providing incentives to recruit the best and brightest graduates with attractive graduate salaries and packages. There has also been an increase in collaboration between government, industry and university stakeholders to facilitate students’ successful transition into careers in high demand.

The government initiatives are connecting students with employers who are providing internships and graduate positions to address labour shortages.

A report forecasts that the number of students going for higher education overseas would grow to nearly 1.8 million by 2024. Rising income levels, awareness about education abroad, easy availability of financial aid, convenient stay-back options, multicultural exposure and early employment opportunities are fueling the International Education Market to reach $433B by 2030.

Date Published: Jan-23-2023

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About the author

Alison has decades of experience leading international student recruitment teams at some of the best universities in the world. In these roles Alison spoke with international students, parents and university departments and learned how confusing and disappointing the study abroad process had been for students. Studying overseas should be an experience of a lifetime, but many students were not happy with the outcome.