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Indian students could spend $70bn by 2025

Indian students spent almost $50bn on studying abroad in 2022, a figure which may skyrocket by 2025, according to new research.

UL and OneStep created three so-called matrices to measure certain aspects of the biggest student markets. Photo: Pexels

Spending by Indian students on overseas education is expected to skyrocket to an “astounding” $70bn

Beyond Beds & Boundaries: Indian Student Mobility Report 2023, put together by University Living and OneStep Global, examined Indian students abroad, including their stark increase in presence in the Big Four destinations.

It also looked at the global challenges faced in finding accommodation.

If the sector continues to grow at the current rate of 14%, projected spending by Indian students on overseas education is expected to reach an “astounding” $70bn by the year 2025, the report said.

When it came to the number of students abroad, 2022 saw just under 1.2m Indian students abroad. If growth rate continues at the current pace, that figure could be over two million by 2025.

Some 60% of Indian students currently studying abroad are master’s students, while 33% are taking bachelor’s degrees.

The report also analysed the accommodation systems of each study major destination, and how well equipped they are to deal with the rising numbers of international students generally.

It calculated that 57,216 bed are occupied by Indian students in the top cities in the US, while that number is almost double in top cities in Canada with 104,097 both on and off campus.

Meanwhile in Australia, just 51,000 beds are occupied by Indian students in the top cities, with the UK having 57,672 beds in the main student hubs.

As part of the launch in the report of a concept called “Student Housing 5.0”, UL and OneStep created three so-called matrices to measure certain aspects of the biggest student markets, and how the sector can help tackle the issues at hand.

The first looked at the merit vs means of Indian students, examining the student selection process, budget planning and scholarship allocation – an attempt to gain a better understanding of the “diverse student population”.

The second looked at university versus quality of cost – delving deeper into institutions and what they offer depending on the price point.

“[It] categorises them based on their academic rankings and the overall cost of education…guiding [students and agents] in making informed decisions about university selection,” the report noted.

The final “matrix” was proximity versus price of accommodation – from on-campus budget dorms to luxury apartments offering a “high-end experience”.

It also pointed out the challenges that both students and providers face when it comes to accommodation.

“Major universities across the world need to utilise their reserves and surpluses to create student accommodation infrastructure either on campus or off campus to attract more students and make their education journey more smooth. Currently, universities have been found lacking on this front.

“Similarly, governments from around the world have not yet paid heed to creating a conducive investment environment for attracting investments into this sector,” the report went on to say.

As part of its key recommendations, the report urged governments to put in their own national housing strategies to combat the issues faced.

“Major universities across the world need to utilise their reserves and surpluses”

It said building new accommodation would solve some issues, while subsidies or tax incentives to private developers in the sector, as well as housing grants to students, were suggested.

“Some of it is happening, but it does not seem enough,” the report noted.

“The uneven distribution of various housing types across regions, coupled with disparities in affordability and quality, highlight the complexity of the student housing market.

“Government policies and regulations have played, and will continue to play, a crucial role in shaping the student housing market. These include measures to ensure affordability, safety, and accessibility, as well as incentives for investment in PBSA.

“A continued focus on innovation, regulation, and investment, aligned with the needs and preferences of the student population, will be essential for its future development and success.”

Note: A previous version of the article referred to the numbers of beds “available” in Australia, Canada, the US and the UK overall. This has been corrected to reflect that the numbers shown refer to the number of beds occupied by Indian students. 

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