Students from tier I and tier II cities are aspiring to gain degrees from top global universities and also successfully enroll themselves in foreign universities.
Education counselors state that admission-related queries for foreign universities have increased compared to bigger cities.
More students from further remote towns and cities are visiting education fairs and exhibitions, organized in state capitals such as Lucknow, Patna, and Chandigarh, thereby, showing interest in global education.
According to Educational Testing Service (ETS), India has become the second-highest country of outbound students in the world.
By 2024, it is expected that India would send around 1.8 million more students to study abroad programs. Attractive career prospects are fuelling the ambitions of students from cities such as Jalandhar, Moga, Bhatinda, Rajkot, Patiala, Aanand, Visakhapatnam, Surat, and Thrissur.
The number of candidates appearing for standardized tests from towns and semi-urban areas has also increased. The demand from the tier II and tier III cities in India was one of the important factors behind the recent launch of TOEFL iBT Paper Edition, a physical test to be given on paper and deemed helpful for those students who don’t want to appear for an online test.
In 2016, almost 65% of the applications were from the big six cities which will drop to 40% in 2021. However, the number of towns from which applications have been received in the last year has increased six-fold since 2016.
The entry of technology-based start-ups that provide a digital platform for counseling and training can also be regarded as the biggest platform for this growing trend.
Students from Tier II and Tier III cities do not have as much access to good counseling services and also tend to be more price-sensitive. However, their increasing interest to study in global universities may be due to multiple factors such as the availability of limited institutions offering niche, research-oriented courses, and poor job prospects after receiving subpar education from average institutions.
Employment opportunities after graduation and an upgrade in living standards are major attractions for the students to pursue education from overseas universities. Students also gain the best international exposure, world-class laboratories and faculties and affiliations, factors that play a key role in shaping an ambitious career.