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US wins first-choice for international students

Students are choosing to study in the US over Australia, the UK and Canada – but is it the work of hostile government policy?

The US has become the first-choice study destination for higher education, according to a report from IDP Education.

‘Emerging Futures’, a survey of more than 11,500 prospective, applied and current international students from 117 countries, has revealed students’ changing opinions as government policies have affected the market.

In the previous ‘Emerging Futures’ report from October 2023, the US ranked last out of the four major study destinations, now swapping places with Canada who has fallen from first to fourth. The UK has maintained position in third, and Australia has dropped from equal first with Canada, to second place.

‘This is the first time we’ve ever seen the US ranked as the most popular study destination for international students,’ said IDP Connect CEO, Simon Emmett. ‘The results are a reminder that governments in the UK, Australia and Canada need to provide clarity on international student policies in order to maintain the competitive advantage they have in this global industry.’

This huge shift for the US comes at a time when governments continue to change their policies around international students and migration.

In January, Canada announced a cap on international student intake, reducing approved study permits by 35% for the next two years. Meanwhile, Australia’s clampdown on net migration is causing frustration amongst prospective students who are seeing their visas rejected.

IDP Education CEO and Managing Director, Tennealle O’Shannessy said:

‘As governments in some countries adopt measures which impact international students, demand is inevitably being affected and it is increasingly difficult for driven and bright students across the world to pursue their global goals.’

To read the full report, click here.

Image courtesy of Nik Shuliahin
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