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Studyportals launches virus impact monitor

Interest in exploring study abroad options has declined in 2020 compared with 2019, but international postgraduate declines are “less pronounced” than those at undergraduate levels according to Studyportals’ new interactive COVID-19 dashboard.

Early insights have suggested that courses in the Netherlands have seen an uptick in interest from German students. Photo: pixabay

StudyPortals will provide real-time insights into the impact of COVID-19 on international student interest

The global study search platform said it hopes the dashboard will help to monitor the impact of the pandemic on student search behaviour and the international education industry as a whole.

“Nothing is certain anymore, so we need to trust the data to inform future decisions”

The dashboard collects data from Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Data Stream, and Studyportals’ data on global student interest and English taught programs at universities worldwide.

Early insights suggest that along with expected demand declines in traditional on-campus degree programs and surges in online degree and non-degree courses, domestic programs and European students searching for courses within Europe have risen.

Examples include a rise in Greek, German and Italian students searching for courses in the UK, while the Netherlands has seen an uptick in interest from Germany, Italy and Spain.

German students are also increasingly looking at French study options, it showed.

“We were looking how best to help the higher education community globally,” Thijs van Vugt, director of the Studyportals Analytics & Consulting Team, said.

“The big question on marketer’s or recruiter’s mind right now is how this pandemic is affecting student demand.

“Will it decrease, and if so for how long? Will students be looking more for online programs or maybe more for domestic programs?”

The interdisciplinary Studyportals team will provide real-time insights into the impact of COVID-19 on international student interest, he noted.

“Nothing is certain anymore, so we need to trust the data to inform future decisions.”

Data is broken down into key destination countries, source markets and seeks to evaluate differences between online and on-campus student interest-driven by COVID-19 pandemic.

According to Studyportals, it is essential to continually monitor trends. In previous research, data correlated well with future enrolments with a 1.5 year time lag, the platform showed.

“The situation is so unpredictable that student interest could either continue to decrease or shoot through the roof when the travel restriction are lifted,” Carmen Neghina, senior marketing analytics consultant at Studyportals added.

“There’s just too much we don’t yet know, but we are monitoring it closely.”

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