The dream to pursue higher studies abroad is no longer reserved for students from metro cities or those from an affluent background. The aspiration to get a degree from a foreign university is ever-growing. With time, India has emerged to be the second-largest supplier of outbound student flows for higher education around the world.
This can be attributed to the rise of major edtech players in India who have been making this dream accessible to students from every nook and corner of the country, especially the smaller towns. Various reports suggest that the number of education loan applications to fund dreams of studying abroad has significantly risen in the last couple of years, as more and more Indian students look to pursue education in foreign universities.
Factors that have led to the rise in demand from smaller towns
The key contributing factors to this include growing internet penetration in Tier 2 and 3 cities and towns in India, prominent enablers of the study-abroad ecosystems that include finance providers, efficient counselling and test facilitators that have fuelled this paradigm shift and the ‘one-stop-solution’ business model of edtech organisations. It is expected that India would send roughly 1.8 million more students to study abroad programs by 2024, and many of these students are expected to be from tier 2 and 3 cities, as per figures by Educational Testing Service (ETS).
A recent report called the Bharat 2.0 Internet Study conducted by Nielsen India reveals that India has 646 million active Internet users aged between 2 years and above as of December 2021. Rural India registered a presence of 352 million internet users, which is almost 20 percent higher than urban, and mobile phones have remained the key device for all internet usage across sectors.
India Student Survey 2022 by INTO, states that amidst COVID-19, Indians have been upbeat about exploring new study abroad options. There is also a growing interest from students in Tier 2 and 3 cities with the rise in incomes and aspirations.
Counsellors and study-abroad experts are of the opinion that students from smaller Indian towns have been showing an increasing interest in studying abroad and they are being successfully enrolled in foreign universities. The fact that admission-related queries to study abroad from Tier 2 cities have been more than that from bigger cities is an indication of the winds of change.
A rise in the income levels, according to the
Report, has played a noteworthy part in enabling students from Tier 2 and 3 cities in India to opt for higher education abroad.
Edtech organisations play a prominent role in the revolution
Edtech firms are aware of the rising aspirations to study abroad among students from Tier 2 and 3 cities. Hence, most of them have been facilitating online consultancy in order to ensure that students from non-metropolitan cities make informed decisions.
Banking on the digitization wave, specifically during the pandemic, edtech firms came up with online services that make the entire process of choosing a suitable course in a university abroad seamless. The process is transparent and more importantly, accessible to students from across the country irrespective of their demography.
The focus has also been on keeping the quality of services uniform for students from the metro as well as non-metro cities while eliminating the increasing number of offline scams in the study abroad space.
One-stop platforms as key problem solvers
Some of the market gaps that edtech organisations in the study abroad space is bridging include onboarding legitimate counsellors, curating and offering the right and relevant information for students, eradicating misinformation, and tracking the progress of the processes transparently on online platforms.
These firms are also ensuring that students, irrespective of where they are from, have a hassle-free experience with every stage of a student’s study abroad journey – IELTS preparation, visa, documentation and application assistance, quality counselling, financial assistance and even post-course completion job placements.
The Government of India is set to launch the Global Indian Students Portal soon, to help students and parents with authentic and timely information about studying abroad.
Meanwhile, Indian edtech firms are ensuring that the right information, tools and assistance reach the ones who want to pursue their dreams to study abroad, irrespective of where they come from or their financial status.