Indian student
Indian students are eager to head to the UK, US, and Canada. Source: Dibyangshu Sarkar/AFP

A new study has found that 94% of Indian students are more keen to study abroad in 2021 compared to the previous year — a response to “welcoming” communication from study destinations, says higher education platform Leverage Edu.

Akshay Chaturvedi, founder & CEO of Leverage Edu, attributed this increased interest to “UK, US and other developed countries opening up their higher education and immigration policies, and communicating in far more welcoming manner than ever before”.

Of the 5,000 Indian students surveyed from the start of 2021, 75% prefer to study in the UK, while 13% choose Canada, and 9% opt for the US. A total of 59% chose to retain their preferred study destinations from last year; 28% switched to the UK. Leverage Edu put this down to the country’s promising vaccination pace, student-friendly healthcare policies, and constant, reassuring communication from UK universities during the pandemic.

Unsurprisingly, the survey found healthcare to be a primary concern among Indian students who want to go overseas. “Access to early vaccinations, as well as basics like healthcare infrastructure, quality of air we breathe, previously little-understood points, have gained a lot of relevance post the second wave in India,” Chaturvedi continued. It’s no wonder that 71% of the survey respondents chose “Better Healthcare Infrastructure” as a key reason to look for opportunities abroad — especially as India’s own healthcare system is strained in the pandemic.

Besides that, 60% of the respondents hoped to clinch an education loan to fund their studies.

Indian student

India is one of the major source countries for international talent in leading education hubs. Source: Manjunath Kiran/AFP

Indian student enrolment “on the rebound” soon

After a year of travel and study difficulties, Indian students are understandably eager to revive their study abroad dreams. In recent months, they have been added to the US travel exemption list, considered in the UK Migration and Mobility Partnership with India, gotten aid from the Australian government, and received residency permits in Canada. Chaturvedi says these factors are driving up study abroad interest among Indian students this year.

“There were concerns over visa appointments for a while, given top metro cities were in lockdown, but they have largely eased off … The next two to three academic intakes are going to be quite the rebound,” he told The Pie News. Universities around the world have suffered great losses from dipping international student enrolment in the past year. With its large youth population, India remains one of the main source countries for international students in the UK, US, Australia, and Canada.

These survey findings correspond with a 2020 QS report showing how the prospect of receiving the COVID-19 vaccine is making international students keen to start their studies abroad earlier. International students enrolled in UK, Australia, and Canada institutions will receive the COVID-19 vaccine for free, as long as they register with health authorities in their state or region.