QS International Student Survey: What drives an international student today?

Up-to-date technology is the top priority of international students choosing universities – even superseding the quality of the teaching staff – according to a new survey published by QS.

The 2018 International Student Survey, carried out by QS Enrolment Solutions (formerly Hobsons), is based on the responses of 67,000 students in 63 universities around the world. The published report focuses on the 28,000 who were considering a move to the UK.

Some 65 percent of respondents placed technology among their top five priorities, with 64 percent nominating the quality of teaching staff as their primary concern. The results contrast with those deriving from UK students in a similar survey, who focused more on the results that students achieve upon graduation and future employment rates.

Students were also asked which factors indicated to them that a member of staff would deliver good-quality teaching. By far the most popular answer was they that were passionate about the subject they taught. Real-world experience and positive reviews from students were the next most valuable indicators of teaching competence.

Most respondents made their choice of subject before choosing a country or university, before progressing to choose course, and, finally, a destination of study. Three-quarters were considering five universities or less, with three the most popular total.

A course leading to a particular career was among the top priorities for 74 per cent of respondents, with high-quality teaching again second in the list and affordable fee options third.

Friends or family who had studied abroad were an important influence, the survey found. More than half of all respondents had friends with overseas study experience and the same was true of family members for 21 per cent of the sample.

The cost of living and availability of scholarships were the most common concerns of prospective international students, followed by safety and finding accommodation. Asked what would make them less uneasy, the largest group of respondents chose the ability to ask questions of international students at an institution. This was followed closely by a desire to have friends or family in the country in which they intended to study.

More than 80 per cent of respondents were using social media were using social media as one of their search tools, but the platform varied widely by country. Facebook was by far the most popular, with 56 per cent using it overall, but only 43 per cent used it in the United States and 46 per cent in China, where Weibo was used by 56 per cent of respondents.

Asked how they thought universities would change in the next 10 years, students said they expected most lectures to be online, and that students would be able to get a qualification from any university, regardless of which country it was based in.

 

QS Best Student Cities 2018: Highlights

London has been named as the top location in the world for students, after replacing Montreal at the top of the QS Best Student Cities ranking.

This edition of the ranking placed London top for the first time. It has more ranked institutions than any of the 100 cities in the exercise and performed well in QS’s survey of over 50,000 students.

Perhaps the most dramatic move in the 2018 ranking is Tokyo’s rise from sixth to second place, beating its previous high of 3rd place. It was the city that led our Employer Activity indicator, and, were it in possession of a more diverse student population, may have led the table.

There are six elements to the ranking: the performance of a city’s universities in QS rankings; the proportion of students and their international diversity; quality of life; employer activity; affordability; and the student view of the quality of their experience and willingness to remain in the city after graduating.

Melbourne has moved up to third place, from fifth in 2017, while Zurich has entered the top 10 in eighth place. No US city appears in the top 10, following declines in their scores for affordability, employer activity and student mix: the best American entrant is Boston (13th, down five places). Australia and Germany retain their status as particularly desirable nations, with two top-ten cities each.

Although dropping to fourth place – losing the global ascendancy it enjoyed last year – Montreal remains the students’ favourite, while Toronto is deemed the most desirable city from quality of life surveys and figures for crime and pollution. Budapest is ranked top for affordability, just ahead of Kuala Lumpur.

Other recent surveys have suggested that students’ perception of a university’s location is playing an increasingly important part in the process of choosing where to study. A favourable rating is also important to the cities concerned – a recent study from the Higher Education Policy Institute estimated that international students are worth £4.64 billion a year to London.

London has two universities in the top 10 of the QS World University Rankings and 18 in all. Ben Sowter, who heads the QS Intelligence Unit, which produces the ranking, said: “London benefits from outstanding employment prospects, more world-class universities than any other city, and enviable lifestyle opportunities. These factors mean that it remains a great place to study despite eye-watering costs, as our student survey made clear.”

To qualify for the ranking, cities must have a population of at least 250,000 and contain a minimum of two ranked universities. New entrants to the ranking this year include Stuttgart, Dubai, Cape Town, Graz, Nagoya, Brighton and Miami.

 

 

 

brexit

Brexit and Rising Student Fees: Will International Students Still Be Attracted to Britain?

money

Our latest QS report,‘Is Brexit Turning International Students Away From the UK?’, derived from the analysis of interviews which took place in cities across Europe, saw the emergence of several key themes among perceptions of post-Brexit UK as a study destination.  One theme that stood out as particularly contentious was the role of money in higher education. Concerns about finances wound their way through many of our participant’s views, and in many different contexts.

For students, one defining benefit of the UK being part of the EU has been the reciprocal fee agreements between EU member states, which enable EU citizens to study in countries throughout Europe for the same price as domestic students. In the likely event that the UK no longer benefits from these agreements post-Brexit, then students from the EU studying in the UK will start being charged the same amount as international (i.e. non-EU) students, which are normally considerably higher fees. Read more

locked-doors

What can British Universities do to Reassure International Students That They Are Still Welcome in the UK?

locked doors

An uncomfortable truth we uncovered in our latest QS report, ‘Is Brexit Turning International Students Away From the UK?’, was that for some students, the events on the 27th of June 2016 and the press coverage surrounding the EU referendum result all pointed towards a major red flag; Britain is no longer welcoming to immigrants. In turn, this view has fostered a sense amongst some international students that they too are unwelcome in the UK. Students have cited the spike in hate crimes in the UK following the Brexit result to back this up, and some even held the opinion that British people were caught up in a wave of xenophobia.

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On 1st July 2017, Carrie Lam, the first female Chief Executive of Hong Kong quoted 2 QS rankings in her inauguration speech in front of  China President Xi Jinping and 2,000 VIP guests to highlight 20 years education achievements of HK since its handover to China.

HK leader quoted QS in inauguration to prove 20 years achivements

On 1st July 2017, Carrie Lam, the first female Chief Executive of Hong Kong quoted 2 QS rankings in her inauguration speech in front of  China President Xi Jinping and 2,000 VIP guests to highlight 20 years education achievements of HK since its handover to China._2017070109545345678

In her inaugural speech, Lam vowed to repay the trust and support of the people and the central government’s support with “with diligence and achievements”.

She said, “On this important day marking the 20th anniversary of Hong Kong’s return to the Motherland, and as witnessed by all here present, I have been sworn in by the President of the People’s Republic of China as the fifth-term Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. It is with a humble heart that I accept this greatest honour of my life and prepare to take on the greatest challenge in my public service career. Over the next five years I will respond to the trust and support placed in me by the people of Hong Kong and the Central People’s Government with diligence and achievements of the governing team under my leadership”.
_2017070109254113229When reflecting on the achievements HK has achieved in the past 20 years returning to China, she said:

“Hope propels a society forward, and confidence is the foundation of hope. We have no reason to lose confidence if we look closely and rationally at what we have achieved over the past two decades since our return to the Motherland”. She started to list all the achievements HK has got on its economy, finance, an the rule of law and safety. She concluded this section by quoting 2 QS universities rankings to highlight the education achievements of HK since returning to China in 1997:

“Five of our universities rank among the world’s top 100, and the Faculty of Dentistry of the University of Hong Kong is the best dental school in the world”.

"Five of our universities rank among the world’s top 100, and the Faculty of Dentistry of the University of Hong Kong is the best dental school in the world". On 1st July 2017, Carrie Lam, the first female Chief Executive of Hong Kong quoted 2 QS rankings in her inauguration speech in front of China President Xi Jinping and 2,000 VIP guests to highlight 20 years education achievements of HK since its handover to China.

“Five of our universities rank among the world’s top 100, and the Faculty of Dentistry of the University of Hong Kong is the best dental school in the world”. On 1st July 2017, Carrie Lam, the first female Chief Executive of Hong Kong quoted 2 QS rankings in her inauguration speech in front of China President Xi Jinping and 2,000 VIP guests to highlight 20 years education achievements of HK since its handover to China.

 

 

Dr. Christina Yan Zhang, China Director, QS Intelligence Unit, said, “It is a tremendous honour to hear that 2 QS university rankings was quoted by the new Chief Executive of HK in her inauguration speech, as the only benchmark, to prove 20 years education achievement of HK since handover to China. HK is one of the best place in the world for higher education. I look forward to the opportunity to working more closely with each of the HK university and the government in further strengthening their international competitiveness across all key subjects areas!”

On 8th June 2017,  Dr. Christina Yan Zhang, China Director, QS Intelligence Unit, said in an interview with Ta Kung Pao, the oldest active Chinese language newspaper in China, that “Three out of five Hong Kong Universities which are ranked within the global top 100 were established less than 50 years ago.  That is mainly due to HK’s unique advantage of geographic location and prosperity of its economy. HK have been able to cultivated some of the world’s best universities in a short time with its big research impact,  strong innovation, truly international environment, and the ability to attract some of the top talents from around the world.  Its influence is increasingly felt globally. The Dentistry of Hong Kong University has twice been ranked as the world’s No.1 has again demonstrated the unrivalled world-class excellence of Hong Kong higher education system. Hong Kong Universities are going to continue its leading position in more cutting-edge subjects soon.

On 8th June 2017, Dr. Christina Yan Zhang, China Director, QS Intelligence Unit, said in an interview with Ta Kung Pao, the oldest active Chinese language newspaper in China, commented on major improvements of HK universities’ global impact and excellence. Dr. Christina Yan Zhang’s comments was quoted by Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, the first female Chief Executive of Hong Kong on 1st July 2017, when sworn in by China President Xi Jinping, as city marks 20 years since handover

On 8th June 2017, Dr. Christina Yan Zhang, China Director, QS Intelligence Unit, said in an interview with Ta Kung Pao, the oldest active Chinese language newspaper in China, commented on major improvements of HK universities’ global impact and excellence. Dr. Christina Yan Zhang’s comments was quoted by Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, the first female Chief Executive of Hong Kong on 1st July 2017, when sworn in by China President Xi Jinping, as city marks 20 years since handover

 

Celebrating the Faculty’s 35th anniversary and its being ranked World’s No. 1 dental faculty by the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2017 for a second consecutive year, the Faculty of Dentistry at the University of Hong Kong (HKU) held a whole day symposium at the Prince Philip Dental Hospital, followed by a gala dinner on November 23, 2017. Over 350 guests, including government officials, international scholars from China, Asia and Europe, the Faculty’s alumni, dental professionals & researchers, bachelor and postgraduate students and prominent business representatives, participated in this most memorable event. Guests of Honour (from left to right) Professor Peter Mathieson, Professor the Hon Sophia Chan, the Hon Mrs Carrie Lam, Professor the Hon Arthur Li and Professor Thomas Flemmig celebrate HKU Faculty of Dentistry 35th Anniversary cum being the World’s No.1 Dental Faculty

Celebrating the Faculty’s 35th anniversary and its being ranked World’s No. 1 dental faculty by the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2017 for a second consecutive year, the Faculty of Dentistry at the University of Hong Kong (HKU) held a whole day symposium at the Prince Philip Dental Hospital, followed by a gala dinner on November 23, 2017. Over 350 guests, including government officials, international scholars from China, Asia and Europe, the Faculty’s alumni, dental professionals & researchers, bachelor and postgraduate students and prominent business representatives, participated in this most memorable event. Guests of Honour (from left to right) Professor Peter Mathieson, Professor the Hon Sophia Chan, the Hon Mrs Carrie Lam, Professor the Hon Arthur Li and Professor Thomas Flemmig celebrate HKU Faculty of Dentistry 35th Anniversary cum being the World’s No.1 Dental Faculty.

 

The full inauguration speech can be found here.

On 1st July 2017, Carrie Lam, the first female Chief Executive of Hong Kong quoted 2 QS rankings in her inauguration speech in front of China President Xi Jinping and 2,000 VIP guests to highlight 20 years education achievements of HK since its handover to China.In her inaugural speech.

Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor,  is the first female Chief Executive of Hong Kong. She joined the Administrative Service of the Hong Kong Government in 1980 and has served the public for more than 36 years in 20 public service positions including Director of Social Welfare, Permanent Secretary for Housing, Planning and Lands (Planning and Lands), Director-General of the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in London, Permanent Secretary for Home Affairs, Secretary for Development and Chief Secretary for Administration.

oxford-uni

Students Reveal Brexit is Likely to Have Uneven Impacts on the UK’s Higher Education System

oxford uni

Students believe the British higher education system will be ‘downgraded’ following Brexit, with uneven impacts across the sector. During interviews for our Brexit report, many students expressed the view that in a post-Brexit UK, the only universities worth applying to would be the elite, Russell Group institutions. Lower ranked universities, with a less diverse student body and faculty, are likely to lose their appeal. So, whilst universities like Oxbridge, UCL and LSE will maintain their relevance, others which toe the line of such prestige, could be hit hard and are at risk of a significant drop in international applicants. International students contribute greatly to the economy, not only in fees but also through their spending on campus and the local community. Such a prediction could therefore have a detrimental economic impact on universities which do not perform well in the global rankings. Read more

Trump

The Trump Effect on America’s Higher Education System

What happens when one of the most controversial candidates in recent political history is elected to presidency in the United States of America? According to the World Wide Web, and a considerable number of hashtags, the Trump Effect is born. But what exactly is the Trump Effect and what does it mean for America’s higher education system?

The term emerged after a report by the nonprofit Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) was titled “The Trump Effect: The Impact of the Presidential Campaign on our Nation’s Schools.” The report claimed Trump’s campaign had caused racial tension to surface in America’s classrooms. Subsequently, the term has been adopted more broadly to refer to Trump’s impact on different aspects of the education system – including American universities.

Within his first week as President, Trump moved quickly to deliver one of his presidential campaign’s key promises; the controversial ‘Muslim ban’, which had sparked global outrage. The ban involved temporarily blocking citizens from seven countries (each with Muslim-majority populations) such as Syria, Iran, Libya, and Iraq, from entering America.

Although the ban’s legality is still contested, the executive order has seen immediate consequences. A survey conducted by the American Association of Collegiate Registrars (AACRAO) found that nearly 40% of colleges are receiving fewer international applicants; put simply, the Trump Effect in action. The Middle East shows the most significant decline, with potential students fearing an unwelcoming environment bolstered by Trump’s racially motivated rhetoric.

“A number of my non-white peers (especially from the seven countries [singled out for the ban] or with precarious immigration status) have felt unsafe”, says Miranda, a British MA student studying anthropology in New York.

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Madam Liu Yan Dong, Vice Premier of China, is one of the most influential female political leader in China and in the world

China Vice Premier Endorsed QS work in Major speech Highlighting 5 Years Plan for Chinese Universities

 

On 8th January 2016, during an important speech in the State Council of China, highlighting China’s 13th Five-Year Plan on education(2016-2010) for nearly 3000 Chinese universities, Madam Liu Yandong quoted the latest QS World University Ranking results to demonstrated the international competitiveness of top Chinese universities have already been recognised globally. This makes QS the only world university ranking being endorsed by the top Chinese government leader.

A graduate of Tsinghua University, Liu’s career has long been associated with Hu JinTao, China’s President 2003-2013, who she has been working closely with in the Communist Youth League colleague. In 2013, she was appointed Vice Premier, second in rank, with responsibility to oversee the portfolios of health, education, and sports. Liu is the fifth-ever female Politburo member since the foundation of the PRC in 1949. Since the appointment, Madam Liu is not only the most powerful woman in the Chinese government, but also one of the most powerful in the world.

Based on the 13th Five-Year Plan of China on Education: China aims to build a group of top Chinese universities with world-class quality and reputation by 2020.

In order to achieve this ambitious goal, more than 110 “high-level” universities will be established across China in the next 5 years. Some 11 provincial regions have also come up with financial support measures, with the total amount raised close to 40 billion RMB. Shandong province said it would raise up to 5 billion RMB, while Hubei province pledged an annual investment of 1 to 2 billion RMB.

Key tasks requires to achieve those goals include focuses on student quality, innovation, international cooperation, teaching quality and so on.

The 13th Five-Year Plan of China also gives details on the students number they want to reach. For example, in 2015, the number of students receiving higher education, nine-year compulsory education, and preschool education reached 36.5 million, 140 million, and 42.7 million respectively. The Chinese government aim to increase those numbers to 38.5 million, 150 million, and 45 million by 2020. A special focus has been put on the recruitment of top international students outside China.

In the speech of Madam Liu, which is published by the official website of China’s State Council, she said: “The international reputation of China’s education has been growing from strength to strength. Some of the academic disciplines in China have already reached leading positions internationally. This has helped to gain invaluable experience for Chinese universities to developed themselves into top world-class universities with Chinese characteristics. The overall world university ranking of Chinese universities have been rising in recent years, with remarkable progress in academic papers published and international reputations. In 2015, there are 25 Chinese university in mainland China that has been included in the UK’s QS World University Ranking Top 500. ”

This major speech took place at a critical and important time for the Chinese education sector. Firstly, all the Chinese universities just finished its 12th Five Year Plan(2010-2015) and is about to start implement its next 5 year plan. Secondly, the Chinese government have not revealed details on how to allocate the next round of government funding to support all Chinese universities to implement their next 13th Five-Years Plan. Thirdly, the State Council of China aim to build more and more universities and majors which are rated as “world-class” by 2020. However, the Chinese government in the past has not made it clear which university rating systems they would adopt to evaluate the performance of Chinese Universities’ global standing. The Vice Premier’s speech quoting QS ranking to applaud the improvements of Chinese universities are strong recommendation for QS rankings to become one of the major benchmarks to guide China’s next around of education reform.

Dr. Christina Yan Zhang, China Director, QS Intelligence Unit, said “I am completely overwhelmed by this fantastic news. China is one of the most difficult and complicated markets in the world. It is a tremendous privilege and surprise to get endorsement from China Vice Premier for our work 2 years after I joined QS. I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone in my amazing dream team in QSIU and QS, without your amazing support, unswerving trust, and invaluable advice since day one I joined, this would never have been possible. Next step, let us continue working closely together to help 3000 Chinese universities of 37 million students to reach their true potentially in the next 5 years!”

(Dr. Christina Yan Zhang, China Director, QS Intelligence Unit, speaking at a University Presidents’ Forum in China recently on the future directions for universities presidents to collaborate efficiently across borders, with top universities presidents from the UK, USA, Mexico, Thailand, Belgium, Russia and Cambodia)

Market Insight Service

The Market Insight Service by the QS Intelligence Unit

A few months after launching the Market Insight Service, the QS Intelligence Unit interviewed Dasha Karzunina, International Research Liaison, about its benefits for institutions around the world.

How would you describe this new service?

D.K.: The Market Insight Service is essentially a way for universities to access tailored information on a particular challenge, concern or a topic of interest to help them figure out how they should progress towards a resolution. Whilst the main element of this service is the focus groups which lead to qualitative research outcomes, we also offer surveys to provide quantitative elements and back up our findings.

What kind of topic can be covered by the focus groups?

D.K.:  For example, if an institution wants to start a new programme and they want to know whether or not it will appeal to a particular group of students, we could run a focus group with students matching these criteria. This would not only allow us to see what type of program they would be interested but also to find out why they wouldn’t be interested in and what perceived barriers exist. For example, one of our clients, the University of Sydney wanted to recruit more students from India. They felt they needed to reconnect with the region and gain additional information about the motivations of Indian students. With policies and governments changing, students’ expectations get influenced and universities need to be on top of these things when trying to recruit international students. By running focus groups, we helped them understand how they and their country were positioned in the market and what current students were actually looking for. This data can help inform the marketing strategy and implement some key changes into the communication processes.

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reimagine

In with the new and out with old? Or lessons learnt from the past? Remembering and Re-imagining Education

In light of the upcoming Re-imagine Education Awards, the innovative global competition launched last year by QS and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania to find the world’s top higher education pedagogical innovation. I started reminiscing about my own university experience, and one particular course came to mind when I looked closely at Hybrid Learning. At QSIU, we are proud to have a team with a diverse skill set, a range of over 12 languages, and have come from various different universities from around the world. Below is an account of a few QSIU team members who share their own memorable experience of past pedagogical methods that have been particularly effective.

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