New research by IDP Connect showed more than half of the students with applications for Australian and New Zealand universities (53 per cent and 59 per cent respectively) are considering a switch to another destination if they can start on campus sooner.
The findings are part of the third instalment of IDP Connect’s International Student Crossroads Research, which examined the attitudes and behaviours of more than 5,000 international students, current applicants and offer holders to higher education institutions across Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States.
With borders remaining closed in Australia and New Zealand, international students are growing restless as they face a drawn-out waiting game.
Globally, students are now also overwhelmingly willing (92 per cent) to take part in quarantine programs instead of deferring their studies. This represents a significant increase from 77 per cent in June 2020.
The study also highlighted the need to communicate with students about the financial costs associated with their destination country. The majority of students heading to Australia (60 per cent) said they were willing to pay a portion of the quarantine costs but expected assistance from their institution, while 22 per cent stated they would pay for all quarantine costs and 18 per cent were not willing to pay any costs at all.
Simon Emmett, CEO of IDP Connect, said the research is a reminder of the ambition and eagerness of international students to pursue their lifelong goals, but also a caution for countries that are lagging in communicating with students.
“This year, international students have shown grit and resilience as they adapted their longstanding travel plans to accommodate COVID-19 challenges,” Mr Emmett said.
“Our research has shown students are increasingly determined to study on campus. It is worth highlighting, many students (44 per cent) are only willing to study online for three months before transitioning to face-to-face.
“This reminds us that the student experience is much greater than the classroom content as students are still striving for that on campus experience.
“We’ve also seen that there is a real risk associated with being perceived as a country that is less “open for business”. Countries that have communicated strongly that international students are welcome, such as the UK, have seen a rise in attractiveness compared to countries with stricter border controls, such as Australia.
“While New Zealand continues to lead in international students’ perceptions in student support and assistance, they are suffering the same overall perception challenges as Australia.
“This is likely due to the strict border closures,” Mr Emmett said.
Andrew Barkla, CEO of IDP Education, said the research is a reminder that what we say and do as a country, significantly influences students’ perceptions.
“International students and their families are actively listening to domestic discussions and what is said here is quickly amplified around the world.
“Safely welcoming international students back into the country should be a priority and it can take place hand in hand with protecting our community.
“This research reminds us that by failing to communicate support for students, Australia is at risk of damaging its reputation as a leading study destination.
“We have confidence the sector can introduce travel corridors and quarantine programs that allow students to commence safely in Australia, which also enables the wider community to benefit from the many ways students enrich our towns and cities,” Mr Barkla said.
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About IDP Connect IDP Connect is the strategic partner of choice for institutions seeking access to engaged student communities. As part of IDP Education, the world leader in student recruitment, IDP Connect uses its global expertise, data-driven insights and trusted human connections to match universities, schools and colleges with the right students from around the world.
Powered by the world’s most expansive omnichannel platform, we bring institutions to life, from academic offerings to campus experiences and beyond. Through our unmatched physical office network, websites, apps, and virtual counselling solutions, students from all corners of the world form our connected community, along with our expert team of trusted education advisors, and our partner institutions.
IDP Connect’s IQ services offer a helicopter view of the global higher education landscape, using the world’s largest combined data set of student demand. From initial online search, through to application, offer and enrolments, we are able to track global student demand through the full funnel and in real-time, helping institutions to address the key challenges faced by higher education.