The number of Chinese students opting to study abroad in top destinations like United States, United Kingdom, Canada and Australia has slowed significantly, as per the claims made in the new report.

The report released by consultancy Education Rethink reveals that even though there has been a noticeable growth in the number of outbound students from China, still “the long-predicted end of the Chinese student boom may soon arrive for the US, UK, Canada and Australia”.

Important Findings

The report states multiple factors  contributing to the decline in the number of Chinese coming into top tier English speaking study destinations. 

  • The emergence of less expensive study destinations in Asia and Europe that offer what is perceived as better value and a seemingly more welcoming environment. The increasingly weighty role geopolitical issues play in international higher education is also noted.
  • Canada and Australia are diversifying their international student populations so as to be less reliant on China as a source country. Whereas, the US and UK continue to rely heavily on China as a source country for international students.
  • Total enrolments of Chinese students across nearly every level of study in the US dropped in 2018-19, with the biggest decline in language studies.
  • UK student visa issuances to Chinese nationals are up 21% year-on-year, while issuances to the rest of the world have increased 8%. There is little room for further, sustainable growth beyond current enrolment levels”.
  • After surging 38% through the first half of 2018, the number of new study permits for Chinese nationals to Canada was flat through to August 2019. Demand for Canadian education from the rest of the world remains strong, with issuance of new study permits growing nearly 15% in the last year.
  • Australia appears to have reached ‘Peak China’ one year after the US did and has seen new enrolments of Chinese students across all levels of study drop 4% year-on-year through to August 2019.


Any Suggestions?

According to the co-founders and managing directors of Education Rethink Jeremy Chan and Anna Esaki-Smith, “major host destinations need to develop more nuanced strategies to maintain their position in the world’s most important student market, while also seeking new pools of international students outside of China for growth”.

Chan and Esaki-Smith believe, “the available menu of study options has grown considerably, and Chinese student preferences have shifted along with them. As a result, Chinese students are seeking study destinations in Asia and Europe that offer some markets”.

Another possible reason, according to the managing directors, could be “a weakening domestic currency may have caused Chinese families to be more price conscious”.

Moreover, they argued that “markets as diverse as Japan, South Korea, Germany and the Netherlands – offering more affordable study options, often closer to home – look to be winning market share at the expense of traditional host destination countries”.

The two co-founders pointed that “some of these major English-language host countries appear to be actively seeking to diversify their international student populations”.

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