The report, which came from research conducted among member agencies, found for the first-time safety had just as much influence on decision making as ranking, both registering with 52% of respondents.
“Quality of life… is just coming more to the forefront”
BOSSA spokesperson Jon Santangelo said the result was due to escalating safety concerns in the US, echoing similar observations from a recent NAFSA report, which attributed apprehensions around personal safety to declines in student numbers.
Santangelo added quality of life was also becoming a key area of concern for students once they arrived in their destination country.
“Quality of life… is just coming more to the forefront,” he told The PIE News.
“Getting more acclimated with other international students or local students and not being so isolated.”
While incidents in the US appear to be responsible for safety’s rise in decision making, Santangelo said the country remained the “gold standard” for China, attracting 25% of students, compared to 19% and 14% for the UK and Australia respectively.
Released at the Beijing International Education Exhibition, the report also found Chinese students and parents remained least influenced by tuition fee at 46%, which Santangelo said came despite a perceived economic slowdown in China from 2015.
“Nationwide, two-thirds of annual household income is less than US$74,000 while the number of households sending their children abroad under this income level is about half of all families,” he said.
Meanwhile, a rise in students undertaking K-12 studies was also having a noticeable impact on pathway providers globally.
Escalating tensions between the US and China have made headlines recently, with the Chinese Ministry of Education issuing an official warning to US-bound students over potential risks in their planned studies.