Patterns of employment status and financial independence of parents different between Chinese, Indian respondents

Financial resources of prospective students are one of the major driving forces of outward mobility from China and India though the U.S.-bound student populations of the two largest Asian countries appear to differ significantly by socio-economic background.

A study shows that while 60 per cent of Chinese students had adequate financial resources to afford overseas education, the percentage of Indian respondents was only 27.

“The higher socio-economic status of Chinese applicants is also manifested in their previous overseas exposure: one out of four Chinese pplying to schools in the U.S had lived, studied or worked abroad prior to their application. By contrast, only one out of 10 Indian respondents had previously spent time overseas. Patterns of employment status and financial independence of parents were also different between Chinese and Indian respondents,” the survey titled ‘Not all International Students are the Same: understanding segments, mapping behaviour,’ brought out by education portal World Education Services said.

Besides maintaining a relevant and interactive social media presence, higher educational institutions need to find the most appropriate platforms for reaching out to target student segments.

The survey found that only 22 per cent of Chinese social media users log in to U.S.-based social media platforms (Facebook and Twitter) on a daily or weekly basis, against 88 per cent of Indian students.

At the same time, 80 per cent of Chinese social media users check their accounts on Chinese platforms on a daily or weekly basis, while only 24 per cent of Indian respondents do so.

Online survey

The report presents insights from an online survey of nearly 1,600 prospective students from 115 countries. The study design was to ascertain how U.S.-bound international students differ in terms of their academic preparedness and financial resources and what information do international applicants need when researching colleges and universities as also what channels they use to get the information they need, among other things.

With more than 7,00,000 Chinese and Indian students enrolled in higher education institutions abroad, one in three of every globally mobile student is from these two countries.

China surpassed India as the leading source country for the U.S. in 2009-2010, while witnessing massive growth at the undergraduate level. India is projected to experience similar patterns from 2015 onwards.

Information needs

Differences in socio-economic status between Chinese and Indian applicants result in different priorities regarding information needs. Obtaining information about tuition and living costs, as well as financial aid opportunities was very important for respondents from India with 46 per cent selecting “tuition and living costs’’ and 38 per cent selecting “financial aid opportunity’’ among their top three information needs.

Financial issues are clearly not as important for respondents from China as only 22 per cent ranking information on tuition and availability of financial needs.

Attending a U.S. college or university is seen by both Chinese and Indian applicants as an investment for future high-paying jobs. This is reflected in their interest in information about career prospects after graduation – about half of Chinese (55 per cent) and Indian (46 per cent) respondents selected career prospects among their top information needs.

“If American higher education institutions wish to maximise the effectiveness of their outreach to applicants from China or India, they should highlight the aspects of their programs that enhance their graduates career prospects,’’ the report recommends.

Information on programme content and course offerings also ranked highly among the top three information needs of both Chinese and Indian respondents (46 and 45 per cent respectively).

Higher educational institutional appeal to applicants from these countries by highlighting unique course offerings and making information on programme content more pertinent on website, the report suggests.

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