US is Indian students' top choice to study, says new research

26 Apr 2024

The US is Indian students' preferred destination to study, surpassing the UK, Canada and Australia, according to a new survey. Around 69% of Indian students who took part in the poll chose the US as their favourite location to study, followed by 54% saying the UK and 43% opting for Canada, The Pie News reports.

The report surveyed 405 potential undergraduate and postgraduate students from India, Nigeria, Pakistan, and Vietnam, along with 97 students currently enrolled in the OIEG pathway program.

Australia emerged as the least favoured among the four major destinations, with only 27% of Indian students surveyed expressing interest in studying there. This data was collected in 2023, prior to Australia's decision to alter migration rules at the end of that year.

The managing director of Oxford International Education Services, the organisation conducting the survey, found it "interesting to note" the high popularity of the US in the current circumstances. "Despite apprehensions surrounding affordability and safety, the allure of quality education and esteemed universities persists as primary drivers," Mohit Gambir stated.

Additionally, the survey revealed students from Nigeria preferred Canada, amounting to 69%, followed by the UK with 68% and the US with 53%. Australia was again in last place with 14%. It was a similar story for students from Pakistan and Vietnam, with 63% and 64% preferring the US to study, respectively.

Agents' help

The research also found that Indian and Nigerian students said they would be more likely to speak to an education agent to help in the choice of their study location, with 35% from each country claiming they would talk to consultants.

Whereas only 23% of Pakistani students and 22% of Vietnamese students expressed willingness to consult with agents. Instead, 62% of Vietnamese students indicated they would rely on social media sites, while just under half of Pakistani students would opt to check university webpages.

Determining the choice

Indian students also confirmed that university reputation and quality of education were crucial factors in their study choices. They cited reputation as the top reason for interest in the UK, Canada, and Australia, while the quality of education was the primary reason for those considering the US.

Furthermore, the survey revealed that for those interested in Canada, more importance was placed on the opportunity to work while studying rather than the quality of education. This confirms the significance of work rights in the Canadian study experience.

While just under half of those considering Australia said they had "always been interested" in the country, and 46% also described it as a "welcoming and friendly" destination. 

Yet even though the US ranked the most popular amongst Indian students, the UK came out on top in regard to affordability, according to the survey. Some 28% said course fees were affordable in the UK, compared to 21% who selected Canada, 20% Australia and just 9% chose the US.