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Level of affordability cited as the main factor students evaluate when considering a US education

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According to a new report by Eduventures and CollegeWeekLive, rising unaffordability is the main factor preventing international students admitted to college in the US from enrolling on their course.

Almost 2000 students took part in the study, which followed them through the decision making process once they had gained entrance to a US institution. Overall, 47 percent of the students surveyed made the decision not to enrol, with the majority citing cost as the main thing preventing them from pursuing an American education.

“The sheer number of international students who got all the way through the enrolment cycle to be admitted to a US institution without realistically being able to afford it” was a defining element of the report, Kim Reid, Principal Analyst at Eduventures, told The PIE News.

Almost two-thirds of participants who did not enrol claimed they would not be able to cover the cost. The remaining third said they may consider studying in the US as an option in the future, while almost a quarter stated they did not know enough about their chosen university to make a sound decision.

Reid notes how the results reflect a lack of transparency throughout the US admissions process, where students do not have access to adequate financial information and so build unrealistic views regarding the cost of a US study experience.

“In a sense this miscommunication between student hopes for financial support and the lack of available financial support for international students…wastes institutional resources on non-viable candidates while leading those candidates down the garden path a bit,” said Reid.

Via The PIE News.

Students based in Europe had the lowest conversion rate, with a total 43 percent of admitted students enrolling on their course, and at 68 percent, students from this region had the highest number of non-enrolling students citing affordability as the reason behind their decision.

Students from the Asia-Pacific on the other hand, were most likely to enrol at 59 percent, but with 62 percent, were least likely to quote affordability as their reason for not enrolling.

Among all students who did not enrol, a total of one-fifth were not able to attend their first choice university, and 45 percent of those students cited the unaffordable cost as their main reason for not attending.

This survey highlights the need for US colleges to clarify important matters such as cost and options for financial support at the start of the admissions procedure, and the report urges institutions to “address the reality of affordability” for international students as early in the process as possible.

In order to fully exploit available marketing resources, the report insists that American colleges should implement an effective strategy that allows them to engage with students who can genuinely afford to meet the costs: “It is wiser to use precious institutional resources to yield students who reasonably can afford to study in the US than to lead students who ultimately will not be able to attend down the garden path,” the report notes.

Additional reporting by The PIE News.

Image via Shutterstock.

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