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75% of agents expect UK rises, US/Aus to grow

Some 75% of agents responding to a recent survey have said they expect to send more students to the UK in 2023, while US and Australia have also been slated to anticipate growth in student numbers.

Rankings were seen as most important for agents in China. In the Middle East & Africa, program cost were top and scholarships were seen as comparatively more important for agents in Latin America, INTO said. Photo: pexels

Close to eight in 10 agents in China rated information on rankings as their key requirement

The survey of 1,068 education agents in 70+ countries by INTO University Partnerships suggested that South Asia will be the “key driver for growth”, together with the Middle East & Africa. Respondents from China indicated that the UK will be most popular among prospective students.

A total of 54% respondents said the US will see more students, with 51% saying the same of Australia.

While 74% of Chinese agents said they expected more students to enrol in the UK, 45% said the same for Australia and 36% the same for the US. It is important to note that the survey was distributed in November, before Chinese authorities issued demands for students studying with international institutions to travel to their study destinations earlier this year.

Photo: INTO

The survey also suggested that 64% of education agents are looking to send more students to university preparation or pathway programs in 2023. Agents in the Middle East & Africa and South Asia being the “most optimistic about significant growth”, INTO noted.

It also detailed barriers to overseas degree programs, with economic climate / affordability ranked top by respondents, followed by employment options, family reasons and safety.

“Student mobility is becoming more diverse and more accessible”

Affordability was cited as a consistent barrier by 48% of respondents, with 28% suggesting it is increasingly a significant reason. A further 28% said employment options was becoming a significant reason and 27% suggested domestic education options were becoming a significant barrier.

Ranking and program cost were both seen as the most important information when advising students for 51% of respondents, while INTO found that entry requirements were also seen as vital information.

A third said the availability of scholarships/ scholarships offer was important, and 26% said post-study work opportunities host country was important when advising.

Photo: INTO

Olivia Streatfeild, CEO of INTO University Partnerships, said it is “heartening” to see confidence among agents reviving and growing,

“The forecast of recruitment agents is evidenced by a record rise in the number of students heading to their study abroad destinations post-Covid-19,” she said.

“Our data reveals that student mobility is becoming more diverse and more accessible to students from a wider range of backgrounds than ever before. These changes come with a new set of needs for education providers to respond to.”

INTO also suggested that recruitment teams should take heed of differences in expectations in markets.

While close to eight in 10 agents in China rated information on rankings as their key requirement, nearly 70% of agents surveyed in Middle East & Africa said the cost of the academic program was very important for them when advising students.

“Over the years employability has emerged as one of the most significant drivers of studying abroad,” Streatfeild added.

INTO has launched its own CareerFirst program to support students to “achieve their academic ambitions but also help them go further and faster with their career goals”, she concluded.

“More than ever students are keen to experience international education, and career outcomes has become a top priority for them.”

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