Appealing to African students

African students have a number of motivations for studying abroad, and according to a report on emerging markets by QS, these are some of the factors that influence where they apply:

  • Financial assistance and scholarships are considered the main priority when it comes to choosing which destinations to apply for. This could work to the advantage of the UK as international student fees start at £10,000, compared to the average US costs of $25,620.
China is becoming an increasingly popular option for African students – with fees starting at just £1,320, it’s easy to see how this is an appealing prospect for financially disadvantaged African students.
  • Internationally accredited qualifications influence which courses African students are interested in. Considering these mobile students may return to their home country, or move to a new country entirely after graduation, it makes sense.
  • Likewise, postgraduate employment is another influencing factor. This is understandable, particularly looked at through the lens of Ghana’s educated unemployment statistics.
  • A third of respondents in the aforementioned report list that the ‘location of target school’ is important, suggesting they have first shortlisted institutions rather than countries.  
An ancient university building
  • The reputation of the institute was found to be the most significant factor for prospective students. Interestingly, this was more important than the reputation of their chosen subject. Again, this could be a result of the student considering their degree in terms of global potential – and it’s much more likely that potential employers will be familiar with the university, but not the intricacies of their subject rankings.
  • However, 70% of surveyed African respondents cited “better education outside of my home country” as the top reason for studying abroad, so advertising the high quality of course content is imperative too.
  • The ease of securing a visa including efficient processing time, good acceptance rates and low costs all inform prospective students how easy it is to study at a given destination. France and Canada have reportedly moved towards more transparency in this area and the UK may benefit from doing similar.