Majority of Indian Study Abroad Aspirants Unaware of Application Processes: upGrad Report

Indian students with puzzled expressions, representing the challenges faced due to lack of awareness and knowledge in study abroad application processes.


upGrad’s Transnational Education Report 2.0 reveals that a majority of Indian students aspiring to study abroad are unaware of the application processes and lack knowledge about financial planning and preparation. The report also highlights the growing popularity of education loans and the increasing interest in non-conventional study-abroad destinations.


Our Analysis and Commentary

The Growing Demand for International Education in India: Bridging the Gap

The release of upGrad’s Transnational Education Report 2.0 sheds light on the increasing popularity of international education among Indian students and the need for innovative learning methods. The findings reflect the aspirations and challenges faced by Indian learners who wish to pursue higher education abroad for lucrative career growth.

One of the key insights from the report is the significant rise in the number of students studying abroad, with over 7.5 lakhs Indian students seeking education overseas in 2022. This surge can primarily be attributed to the market-oriented curriculum and enhanced employment opportunities offered by master’s degree programs abroad. The shorter duration of these programs also contributes to reduced costs compared to bachelor’s degrees. This data highlights the clear motivation among working professionals to gain global exposure and acquire specialized skills.

Furthermore, the report highlights the increasing popularity of education loans among aspirants, with 31.2% of respondents relying on them for financial support. This indicates the determination of Indian students to overcome financial barriers in pursuit of their education goals. It is also encouraging to note that 27.6% of respondents are exploring scholarship options, demonstrating their proactive approach to seeking funding alternatives. This shows the resilience and resourcefulness of Indian students in harnessing opportunities to fulfill their educational aspirations.

However, amidst the enthusiasm and motivation to study abroad, the report reveals that a significant percentage of respondents lack knowledge about the application and admission process. This knowledge gap underscores the necessity for comprehensive guidance and support systems to assist students in navigating complex procedures such as visa applications and exam requirements. By addressing this gap, the education sector can ensure that aspiring students receive the necessary resources and information to make informed decisions about their future.

The report also highlights the shift in preferences among Indian students, with nearly 45% expressing openness to explore non-conventional study-abroad destinations. This reflects a broader mindset among students, indicating a willingness to explore uncharted territories for their educational pursuits. While the United States remains a popular destination, Canada’s flexible Permanent Residency policies and higher education system have also emerged as major attractions for Indian students. This diversification of study-abroad destinations allows for a more inclusive and diverse global learning experience.

Overall, upGrad’s Transnational Education Report 2.0 provides valuable insights into the evolving landscape of international education in India. It emphasizes the importance of innovative higher education solutions that are affordable, accessible, and aligned with the needs of Indian learners. The report serves as a catalyst for universities, policymakers, and education companies to converge and address the challenges faced by aspirants. By collectively working towards bridging the gap in knowledge and support, the education sector can enable Indian students to explore global opportunities and achieve their dreams without financial constraints.


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Education loans, a go-to choice for study abroad aspirants but majority remain unaware of application processes: shows upGrad’s Transnational Education Report

Skilling giant’s Study Abroad arm presents Transnational Education Report 2.0, offering insights into Indian learners’ global education pursuit.

The Study Abroad arm of Asia’s largest integrated learning, upskilling, and workforce development company, upGrad, released the second edition of its annual survey – Transnational Education Report 2.0 to provide industry stakeholders with valuable insights into the preferences, challenges, and aspirations of Indian students who wish to study overseas for lucrative career growth. Based on aspirants’/students’ feedback from over 200 cities, the findings offer a comprehensive analysis of Indian learners’ interests and motivations for pursuing higher education abroad.

It explores factors influencing Indian learners’ aspirations for international education, as evidenced by the six-year high (over 7.5 lakhs) in students studying abroad in 2022, and highlights the need for innovative learning methods. The report further showcases the transformative impact of technology that has made education flexible, student-centric, and nonlinear. Nearly 80% of data has been obtained from Tier 2 & 3 cities, including Coimbatore, Kochi, Agra, Visakhapatnam, and Indore among others.

Findings revealed that nearly 64% of working professionals are keen to pursue master’s degrees abroad because the curriculum remains market-oriented and offers enhanced employment opportunities. The shorter course duration also leads to reduced costs compared to a bachelor’s program. Another significant data highlights the growing popularity of education loans among aspirants, with 31.2% of respondents relying on them, followed by 27.6% seeking scholarship options, and 21.9% still exploring various funding alternatives. Despite the high motivation to study abroad, 51.8% of the respondents are unsure of the processes, including how to apply, which exams to take, visa procedures, etc.

Other findings include:

  • Nearly 45% of Indian students are now more open to exploring non-conventional study-abroad destinations, including Poland, Taiwan, Belarus, and South Africa, in addition to traditional destinations
  • While the US remained the most popular study-abroad destination among respondents, Canada’s flexible PR (Permanent Residency) policies and superior higher education system remain a huge draw
  • High-quality education and job opportunities are the primary driving factors for Indian students aspiring to study abroad
  • A significant majority of study-abroad aspirants lack sufficient knowledge about the application and admission process, highlighting the need for guidance and support

“The surging demand for affordable and accessible international education in India is undeniable, especially among the aspirational class residing outside major cities. These learners yearn to transcend borders to embrace cultural diversity, expand their horizons, and cultivate a global mind set for unlocking greater career opportunities. Yet, amid this enthusiasm, a growing gap exists in understanding the crucial aspects of financial planning and preparation. Therefore, with our second edition of the report, we also aim to spotlight these emerging challenges, fostering awareness and empowering learners to make informed career decisions,” said Ankur Dhawan, President of upGrad Abroad, while commenting on the findings. “The country needs innovative higher-ed solutions to pave the way for learners to explore global opportunities and achieve their dreams without breaking the bank. We have to work to tackle the challenges our aspirants face collectively by also offering more guidance and support while innovation continues to play a major role,” he added.

upGrad Abroad has established itself as a market leader in monitoring industry movements and anticipating trends. By offering a credible data source through its annual reports, the India HQ skilling giant further positions itself as a trusted/reliable partner for industry stakeholders such as universities, policymakers, and education companies who would look forward to aligning their offerings with the evolving market and consumer needs. Launched in 2022, the first edition of the report was designed to understand the role of technology that pivoted the entire study abroad sector towards online and blended learning while also making such formats more flexible and convenient to Indian households.


One thought on “Majority of Indian Study Abroad Aspirants Unaware of Application Processes: upGrad Report

  1. Rohan Shah

    Great article! I found the information you shared to be really insightful and helpful. Thanks for sharing your expertise.


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