A handfull of polls has found that European students put off by Brexit are likely to opt for other English-speaking destinations.
The Germany-based Inner City Education Foundation (ICEF) Monitor has quoted three studies within the last month suggesting that uncertainty about visas, work permits and funding grants in Britain may put off students from the EU. Donald Trump also appears to be making students rethink their choices.
Phil Honeywood, chief executive of the International Education Association of Australia, said “The combination of Brexit and Trump has sent all the wrong messages to international students thinking of travelling to those countries,”
Although it was too soon to bank tuition fees from extra EU students, he said big increases in other markets for Australia suggested the Trump factor was already at work. Numbers from Colombia were up 27 per cent, and 22 per cent in Brazil. There was a 16 per cent increase from Muslim-majority Malaysia.
A small survey by the UK-based Red Brick Research agency found 64 per cent of international students already in the UK said Brexit made it a less desirable place to be, while 73 per cent said Trump turned them off the US.
For EU students, Canada supplanted Britain as the No 1 destination, with Australia moving up from fourth to third place.
Education Insight’s London-based director Janet Ilieva, who is preparing a paper on politics and the student market for October’s IEAA conference, confirmed the Canadian ascendancy, saying people there “work very hard towards international education engagement”.
She said the Irish also were benefiting from the Brexit effect.
Mr Honeywood said: “There’s no doubt Canada’s offering both a migration outcome (unlike the UK or Australia) and a welcoming study environment”. Even so, he said Australia’s 11 per cent annual growth rate showed it remained a strong competitor.
The second study cited by ICEF, an analysis of online browsing by students, showed declines in searches for the US (from 35.7 per cent to 32 per cent) and UK (28 per cent to 25.8 per cent).
Aaron Porter of the Hotcourses Group said “But perhaps the most striking change over the past 12 months has been the monumental increase in interest in Canada, with its share increasing from 4.9 per cent to 10.4 per cent,” .
The third study, by the British Educational Travel Association, suggests Britain is struggling with the youth market, which finds rival destinations including Canada and Australia easier to deal with and more appealing.
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