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StudyAbroad.com Releases Results of New Survey; Findings Reveal Student Concerns
Financial concerns continue to be the largest barrier to study abroad; while use of financial aid has increased, nearly one in five students still do not know that it is an option
According to the survey, more than one in four respondents (27 percent) cited location as the most important factor when considering a study abroad program, followed by subject (24 percent), when the program took place (20 percent), duration (16 percent) and program format (13 percent). In terms of location, the study reports that nearly two thirds of the top 20 countries are in Europe, and five are English-speaking. The top five countries by student interest are England, Spain, France, Italy and Australia.
The research also found that though study abroad is still most popular with undergraduate students, nearly half of those interested in study abroad either haven’t been to college yet or have already graduated, suggesting a market growth opportunity. 20 percent of the students surveyed were in high school and 23 percent had already graduated college. Programs that tailor their approach to target these markets will be better positioned to respond to this opportunity.
“As the last few years have seen, international experience is increasingly attractive to employers, so more and more students – and at varying stages of their educational career – are interested in spending time abroad to gain a global perspective,”
One area of opportunity lies in financial aid education. The survey showed that students are still most concerned about the costs of study abroad. Among those who self-identified that they were “still deciding” on a program, 62 percent listed price as their primary hesitation. However, the data also show that there is an information gap when it comes to available financial aid. Though more than two thirds of students said they planned to or already used financial aid to study abroad, 19 percent of students said they “didn’t know I could” use financial aid, when asked. There is still room to improve financial education and bridging the disconnect between student perception and the reality of paying for their study abroad experience.
Other decision-making factors that come into play when students decide where to study abroad include the program’s focus, housing, the provider’s reputation or internship opportunities. The survey also found that by directly connecting with students, program providers can help students overcome these concerns by providing additional information. 51 percent of students who chose study abroad said they had received a personal phone call, email or mailing and that timely correspondence was “very important.” The survey discovered that students who are contacted directly by a program after submitting an inquiry are 21 percent more likely to enroll in a study abroad program. This is an area where providers could improve their service by personally contacting students and offering relevant and timely information.
For more information about the study or for a copy of the report detailing the complete findings, contact Chuck DelCamp at firstname.lastname@example.org.
StudyAbroad.com is a web resource of EducationDynamics and the Internet’s leading source of information on educational opportunities for students to study in other countries. It is a comprehensive directory of study abroad and intensive language programs organized by subject and destination. Currently information on more than 13,000 study abroad programs is available and more than two million students visit StudyAbroad.com annually. StudyAbroad.com also offers first hand student reviews; destination information, a handbook serving as a guide to traveling abroad; Blog Abroad, a blog that chronicles the experiences of students as they study abroad; and financial aid and scholarship information. To learn more, visit www.StudyAbroad.com.
EducationDynamics is higher education’s leading marketing information and technology services company dedicated to helping institutions find, enroll and retain students. Its content-rich and highly visible education websites, including ChristianEducation.com, EarnMyDegree.com, EducationConnection.com, eLearners.com, GradSchools.com, StudyAbroad.com, TestDriveCollege.com, TestDriveGradSchool.com and its special interest microsites, make EducationDynamics the premier provider of qualified prospective students for colleges and universities. In addition, the company offers a full suite of Web-delivered services proven to drive enrollment growth and reduce student attrition, as well as other innovative solutions including LeadWatchLive, its Web-based inquiry management system. Through Aslanian Market Research, the company brings decades of proprietary research, unparalleled market and student intelligence and best practice insights to clients. For more information, visit www.educationdynamics.com.
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