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Fortnightly survey on student study abroad plans

The number of would-be international students making alternative study abroad arrangements ahead of the next academic year is increasing as COVID-19 continues to disrupt daily life around the world.

SurveyProspective international students are changing their study plans for the next academic year. Photo: Pixabay

14% no longer wanted to study overseas

This is according to QS, who will be publishing the results of an ongoing survey filled out by students on their study abroad plans every fortnight. So far, two batches of data have been released, one of February 26  and the other on March 12.

“It is vital that universities remain flexible on application deadlines and start dates”

“By monitoring the disruption that the coronavirus is causing to prospective international students we hope that our latest research can help institutions plan more clearly for the next academic year,” said QS CEO, Nunzio Quacquarelli.

“The data still suggests that the impact of coronavirus is likely to be an issue of timing, it is therefore vital that universities remain flexible on application deadlines and start dates during this uncertain period.”

As of February 26, 27% of those surveyed said their study abroad plans had been impacted. However, by March 5 that number had risen 2% and by the following week, a total of 35% of respondents were saying their plans had changed.

Of those, increasing numbers are planning to defer studies for a year (54%) while 14% no longer wanted to study overseas.

Around 13% have opted to study in a different country. The number of those who no longer wanted to study abroad rose by 5% between the release of the two data sets, while the number who wanted to find an alternative destination dropped significantly.

“Whereas before, prospective students may have thought that they could study in a region which had been unaffected by the crisis, the situation has now evolved to a point where no region is isolated from the impacts of coronavirus, meaning there are no alternative destinations,”QS noted on its website.

“This has resulted in more students choosing to defer their degree offer and to delay the time when they move abroad to study.”

Over a third of the 3,000 students who completed the survey come from Nigeria, Pakistan, Ghana and India.

Participants were also asked about their views regarding online learning as more and more universities switch to digital classrooms.

While 61% said they would be interested in doing their degree online due to the coronavirus, almost four out of 10 respondents said they would “reject the idea outright”.

QS is continuing to collect data. Prospective students can fill out the survey here, while a similar survey for higher education professional can be found here.

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