Foreign education rarely experiences a slowdown. But with the pandemic affecting international travel, universities and colleges worldwide had to slow down their intake of foreign students. Now with extensive vaccination and social distancing practices, there has been a significant improvement in the sector.
The US and Canada remain popular destinations
Despite the slowdown experienced in 2020, students continue to flock to popular foreign education destinations in 2021. In Canada, overall enrolment has increased by 20 percent worldwide and Indian students are driving this trend. New registrations of international students match the overall 2019 figures while beating pre-pandemic figures of incoming students from India.
Built on the current US administration’s efforts to remove legal barriers to immigration, colleges in the US are expected to attract international talent in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and maths). With the rapidly ageing US population, younger immigrants are required for a variety of STEM-driven sectors like healthcare, IT, engineering, teaching, and more.
Institutions across the US and Canada are trying to attract students worldwide by offering them scholarships. Many have even simplified their English proficiency tests and other requirements as well.
Finance, analytics, and management are trending
International students often look for academic opportunities that are hard to come by in their home country. Some look for high global ratings and top faculty while others go for specialised courses. In an ever-widening array of academic courses, some have remained favourites among international students.
Master’s in subjects like Finance, Analytics and Management are most sought-after as are MBAs and other similar courses. Many of them allow students to customise their curriculum, which is one reason why they’re so popular. Many such courses even qualify for STEM status in the US. There is an increase in the number of young women applying for these courses.
Financial aid for students is available
Studying overseas has always been an expensive affair and securing sufficient funding is where most applicants struggle. Luckily, with numerous scholarship programmes being offered by universities and charitable trusts worldwide, financing has become easier.
Apart from scholarships, financing is also available through student loans. This space has developed immensely in the past few years, and some lenders offer loans without needing a co-signer or collateral. Such loans can be pivotal for many young women who cannot rely on families for the funding required to live and study abroad. Many young men are also keen on scholarships and student loans to keep the financial burden off their families. Meanwhile, lenders are also offering loan refinancing along with other free services to ensure a student’s journey does not suffer due to insufficient funds.
A holistic approach ensures success
When finding an agency or financer, it is essential to research beforehand. Constant support throughout their journey is essential; right from the initial application and financing to visa formalities and even employment after graduating. The focus must be holistic support because securing a foreign degree cannot guarantee success until paired with a rewarding career.
Students today have immense opportunities to explore with the widest variety of courses and easy loans at their disposal. To ensure success not only in school but after graduation as well, institutions and lenders must act as support systems by carefully hand holding the student.
By Mr. Sasha Ramani, Associate Director of Corporate Strategy at MPOWER Financing.