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2022: Key International Education Trends And Predictions

Trends in international education

What’s Ahead? Trends that will define international education in 2022 and beyond

2022 is here and though we still have the virus around, we are however encouraged by the heart-warming progress being made with the COVID-19 Vaccine.  We have now begun to see a relaxation of many of the COVID-19 restrictions and measures that inhibited business and migration globally. And as more people get vaccinated, the global international travel experience will become smoother.

The dynamics of international education is always changing and evolving, influenced by different factors at different times – from international diplomacy to immigration policies and border control laws. In the past two years, the pandemic has been the one single factor that has affected all the processes of international education with the global restrictions setting in motion new ways of learning. First, classes transitioned into online learning, then to the hybrid learning delivery option. However, 2022 and beyond holds great promise for the international education sector as we will begin to see a return to full in-person learning options for international students.

In 2022 and beyond, we will begin to witness shifts in international education and it is projected that students will begin to consider alternative study destinations and there will also be a decline in the online study option, as international students will opt for in-person learning.

Here, we detailed top trends and projections in international education for students to keep an eye on and to serve as a useful guide for their international education plan

5 Key International Education Trends for 2022

Program offerings and university ranking play a minor role in choosing where international students hope to study. Students are now more concerned about the cost of living, tuition fees, post-study work opportunities among other major factors. Prospective international students cite financial concerns and post-study opportunities as their top considerations when making their study abroad plans. Also, study abroad scholarships and tuition cuts may not be enough to influence a student who also needs to manage rent, food, and transportation costs.

international education

1. An upsurge in international Students Studying Abroad

The International education sector was among the hardest hit by the pandemic. During the early days of the pandemic in 2020, there was a steep decline in new international student population globally. But in recent times, with the roll-out of vaccines and relaxation of Covid-19 measures, things are beginning to look buoyant for the international education sector. 

Since mid-2021 there has been a rebound in international student enrolment in the top study destinations. In 2021, the UK issued 428,428 study visas to international students and their dependents which is the highest total ever recorded, surpassing the record set in 2010.

For the US market, after the depressing decline of 2020, we have now begun to witness a gradual rebound in international student enrolment. A recent survey data collected from the responses of over 860 higher education institutions in the US, predicts brighter days ahead for the US international education market.

The international education market in Canada also witnessed an upsurge. In the period between January and September 2021, six times as many students visa were approved in comparison to the 2020 number. In the coming year, Canadian Post-Graduate Work Permits (PGWPs) approvals are projected to increase drastically.

2. Students will Explore other study destination

The pandemic and the restrictions that followed it made international students shift their focus away from the major study abroad destination. Many prospective international students are now looking at exploring other study destinations with better post-study offerings and migration laws.

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In a 2021 survey, over 60% of prospective international students said they considered a country’s handling of the pandemic in choosing their study destination. And international students are more willing to change their study destination to countries where in-person study is available.

The allure of the big four study abroad destinations is on the wane as international students are now beginning to consider the potentials of labour markets and the dynamics of emerging industries within a country’s economy. Potential international students now consider post-graduation opportunities and how well global emerging industries are doing in each country.

Another significant factor that influences international students decision of where to study is the ample opportunities and demand for talents in certain emerging industries especially tech, health, and business.

3. Tuition Cost and Cost of Living Will Determine Students’ Decision

For international students, the cost of tuition and living cost are major factors in determining the destination where they would study. Also, tuition fee payment plan also plays a significant role in the choice of study destination. International students often consider institutions with a flexible payment plan and in 2021, this trend of prospective international students looking for low-tuition programs and a flexible payment plan will continue throughout 2022 and beyond.

Institutions that aim to attract a large number of international students would begin to seriously consider offering low tuition programs and flexible tuition payment plans. Also, since students consider the cost of living in choosing their study destination, institutions that are located in cities with low to moderate living costs will attract more international students.

4. Post-study work permit will become the most prominent determining factor for international Students

Post-study work opportunity has always been among the prominent factors influencing international students’ decision of where to study.

As the international education sector emerges from the pandemic, international students will be attracted more to study destinations that offer post-study visas which will allow international students to stay, work or look for a job after they graduate.

More than ever, international students are taking the graduate route to migrate and become permanent residents. In 2021, over 60% of international students plan to stay and work in the country after graduation.

Also, institutions with programs that will connect international students with local employers will be more attractive to international students.

In 2022 and beyond, it is expected that post-graduation work opportunities will continue to be a major motivation for international students’ migration.

5. There will be a rise in hybrid delivery and a decline in fully online learning

The pandemic prompted lots of modifications in learning delivery methods globally and one of such modifications is institutions switching to online delivery fully. However, with the relaxation of covid-19 restrictions, international students aren’t so keen on opting for online studies anymore. Many students who began their studies online earlier have now begun to travel, to switch to in-person learning.

Recently, Hybrid delivery has become popular among international students as it provides students with the choice of starting their course online then continuing their studies on campus. In comparison to online delivery, students preferred hybrid learning, as it offers them a certain level of flexibility and gives them time to prepare for travelling.

In 2022, more institutions will begin to offer all three options – in-person, hybrid, and online programs. However, it is projected that there will be a decline in fully online delivery courses.

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