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Cost far from only reason Indians reject US unis – survey

A new survey from study abroad company GradRight delves into why students accepted and rejected certain institutions in the US.
May 28 2024
2 Min Read

A survey of over 20,000 Indian students has found that while cost is a big reason certain universities were turned down, university branding could be a key issue for institutions to address, with location also being seen as a problem for some.

GradRight’s Admit-Enrollment Survey, which was released at NAFSA on May 28, examined the reasons why Indian students both accepted enrolment and declined it at various public and private institutions across the US.

“Our Admit-Enrollment Survey offers a window to student admit experiences that can change the trajectory of international student recruitment for the benefit of universities… and students,” noted Sasidhar Sista, the COO and co-founder of GradRight.

While cost was a big deciding factor for the students surveyed, 15% said a key reason for rejecting a private institution was the university’s branding – signalling there may be a “branding problem” within private schools, the organisation suggested.

“So if you’re a private university and you want Indian students to choose you for their graduate degree, you have to deliver them even more via your brand. If you can do that, students will invest,” Sean O’Brien, the organisation’s chief of university partnerships, told The PIE News.

Looking at location as a factor, it was the least important in deciding to accept a university offer – but the survey indicated its role in students rejecting schools was of far greater importance.

Some 15% said a key reason for rejecting a private institution was the university’s branding – signalling there may be a “branding problem”

“We have yet to analyse the data in such a way as to reveal the combination of private and public universities in respondents’ lists of their top choice vs. second and third choice institutions, but this is certainly another aspect that deserves exploration,” director of strategic communications Alana Sobelman said.

Career opportunities were key for private university-goers accepting enrolment – being the second most clicked reason – and similarly with public university students, where it was the third most important reason.

When it came to rejecting certain schools, though, it was much more important to public university students, who were more likely to decline enrolment based on career opportunities – something GradRight called “curious” considering it was less important in students’ drive to accept enrolment.

The vast majority of students who took the survey, which was conducted in mid May, were from the India’s fourth largest city Hyderabad – but the company said that multiple cities with populations under a million were also represented, including Ahmedabad and Surat.  

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