PORTLAND, Ore., Oct. 13, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Prospective international students to the US say that the way governments manage the coronavirus in their own countries has made them reconsider studying overseas, according to a new report from QS Quacquarelli Symonds.
QS, global higher education think tank and publisher of the QS World University Rankings, conducted a pulse survey that has received over 74,000 student responses since it began in mid-February of 2020.
Of the 74,216 prospective international students that were surveyed globally, nearly 20,000 listed the US as their top study destination. The top alternative study destinations were Canada, the UK, and Germany.
Over half of students (56%) said that the way governments handled the coronavirus made them reconsider studying overseas, 28% said it did not make them reconsider, and 16% did not know at the time of the survey.
Nunzio Quacquarelli, CEO, QS, said: "At a time when the US has had an acceleration of confirmed coronavirus cases, health and safety should be the highest priority for US institutions. Prospective students from around the world, many still looking to the US as their top study destination, are watching as this situation unfolds."
When asked which countries' governments had best managed the coronavirus crisis, the US was chosen by just 2% of students out of a list of 38 nations. The UK was also chosen by just 2% of students, while Canada was chosen by 5% of students.
New Zealand, on the other hand, was chosen by 32% of students as handling the coronavirus well, and South Korea, the second-highest ranked country, was chosen by 9% of students.
Despite QS's findings that the US government's coronavirus response is affecting international student choice, the US was the second-highest ranked study destination with 38% of students interested in applying to institutions there. Students were slightly more interested in the UK (41%) and slightly less interested in Canada (35%).
Prospective international student behaviors are key indicators of the health of the higher education sector, as well as the US economy. In 2018, international students contributed $45 billion to the U.S. economy, according to the US Department of Commerce.
The 74,216 prospective international student respondents were given the survey through the International Student Survey (ISS) database, as well as by filling out a form on QS student portals such as TopUniversities.com and TopMBA.com.
SOURCE QS Quacquarelli Symonds