According to new figures released from Higher and higher, HSBC's latest report in The Value of Education series, globalization of higher education shows no sign of stalling. The study of over 8,000 parents across 15 countries and territories found that more than two-fifths (42%) would consider sending their child to university abroad, compared to 35% in 2016 - a seven percentage point (pp) increase.

Asian countries are among the most outward looking, with four of the top five countries where parents are considering a university education abroad for their child being India (62%, +15pp), Indonesia (61%, +1pp), China (59%, +15pp), and Hong Kong (52%, -2pp). Even countries among the least likely such as Egypt (+26pp), USA (+14pp), France (+9pp), Canada (+6pp) and Australia (+1pp), see an uplift in the number of parents considering higher education abroad.

% of parents from this country who would consider

university education abroad for their child
2017 2016
Average 42% 35%
UAE 64% 58%
India 62% 47%
Indonesia 61% 60%
China 59% 44%
Hong Kong 52% 54%
Malaysia 51% 43%
Singapore 47% 43%
USA 43% 29%
Mexico 43% 31%
Taiwan 37% 38%
Egypt 36% 10%
Canada 27% 21%
France 25% 16%
UK 22% 22%
Australia 17% 16%

This echoes data from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) that highlights that Asian student's account for 53% of all students studying abroad worldwide 1. According to HSBC's partner, the Institute of International Education (IIE), China is the leading country of origin for international higher education students, sending an estimated 801,000 abroad, with India (182,000) and Malaysia (64,000) also exporting significant numbers.

More generally, student mobility continues to climb with 4.6 million higher education students studying abroad in 2017 compared with 2.1 million in 2001.

Top destinations for university abroad

Parents see the main benefits of a university education abroad as being able to help their child gain international work experience (49%), develop foreign language skills (49%) and to be exposed to new experiences, ideas and cultures (48%).

Overall, the U.S. (47%) is the most favored destination by parents, ahead of Australia (40%), the UK (39%), Canada (25%) and Germany (23%). While parents who preferred the U.S. believe it is a good destination for job prospects for graduates (86%), those choosing the UK perceive it as offering high quality universities and colleges (94%) and parents picking Canada think it offers a high quality of life for students (83%).

Countries parents are most likely to consider

for their child's university education abroad in 2017
          Frequency of mentions         Rank 2017 vs 2016
1. USA           47%         =
2. Australia           40%         +1
3. UK           39%         -1
4. Canada           25%         =
5. Germany           23%         =
6. France           16%         +1
7. Japan           14%         -1
8. Singapore           8%         =
9. China           5%         =
9. Hong Kong           5%         +3
9. New Zealand           5%         =

The IIE estimates that in 2016/2017, the U.S. attracted around 1,079,000 international higher education students, the UK around 501,000, China 443,000, Australia 328,000 and France 324,000.

In addition, around two-fifths of parents (39%) have specific universities abroad in mind, attracted mainly by the quality of teaching on offer, their prestige and their ability to open up new job opportunities for their child.

"With an intake of over one million, the U.S. has a strong track record of attracting international students who recognize that a higher education received there is a valuable personal and professional investment," said Rajika Bhandari, Head of Research, Policy and Practice, IIE. "They particularly appreciate the importance of critical thinking as well as the broad range of available resources and the wide variety activities beyond academics offered by America's more than 4,000 higher education institutions. Additionally, specific programs are offered to international students so they can gain work experience and ultimately develop their employability skills."

Cost and value of international education

The majority of parents (73%) considering university abroad for their child expect to make a significant financial contribution, and estimate the overall average cost of an undergraduate and postgraduate degree abroad to be $157,782 ($71,580 for undergraduate and $86,202 for postgraduate)*. Many parents (45%) would go further and consider buying a property in the country where their child is studying.

Parents' willingness to spend on international education brings huge potential benefits to the host economies. Research from the IIE shows that international higher education students contributed $39.4 billion to the economy in the U.S. in 2016, making it the fifth largest service sector export.

"Our research points to the growing number of parents ready to invest in an overseas university for their child's education and the substantial investments they are willing to take," said Pablo Sanchez, Head of Retail Banking and Wealth Management for HSBC in the U.S. and Canada. "With an undergraduate's total cost expected to be around $72,000 on average, the investment for parents is financially significant. And, nearly half of the parents surveyed said they would consider buying a property in their child's country of study. While it's clear parents considering university abroad expect to make a significant financial contribution, it's critical that they plan ahead and look at all of the implications of funding an international education."

With the power of its global network, HSBC can support customers with their international financial needs in four of the top 5 destinations for higher education abroad. Whether it is setting up a bank account before they arrive in a new country, or welcoming them to settle in, HSBC offers a package of products and solutions to ease their journey abroad. In addition, HSBC is partnering with key players in the education ecosystem - education agencies, secondary schools, language schools, universities, visa services, student associations - to provide support to families beyond banking services.

As an example, the International Education Payment Solution (IEPS) was launched recently to enable customers in China to make tuition fees payments directly to schools and universities in Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, the UK and the U.S. via HSBC Mobile Banking and WeChat, one of the largest mobile messaging apps in China.

Practical steps for parents
  • Consider the benefits of university education abroad: It can help your children to be independent and enhance their job prospects.
  • Be realistic about the costs: Make sure to plan for all the implications including higher tuition fees, international travel, accommodation, day-to-day expenditure and exchange rate fluctuations.
  • Start planning early: Early planning and saving for education can help your children fulfill their potential and limit the strain on family finances. Seeking professional advice can help you plan and make better informed choices.
  • If buying property abroad: Choose a mortgage plan that is most suitable for your needs. Consider the interest rate, repayment period, setting-up fees, early repayment flexibility and cancellation fees. Be aware of the tax and foreign exchange implications.

Practical steps for students
  • Learn about your new country, its culture and customs before you go.
  • Sign up to classes or training your university may offer to help you navigate your new surroundings.
  • Speak to recent graduates who studied aboard, their first-hand experience can help you adapt quicker.
  • Explore your new country and be open to making new friends.
  • Get involved in campus activities beyond academics, taking advantage of the many clubs, sports, interest groups and social events to mix with the diverse student population.

Notes to editors:

* Estimated cost of university education abroad (methodology)

Parents who would consider university education for their child in a different country to where they reside were asked to estimate how much they think it would cost in total each year to fund an undergraduate and postgraduate degree abroad. They were asked to consider all expenses associated with their child studying at university abroad including tuition fees, accommodation, education books/equipment and food.

These average yearly costs were multiplied by three years for an undergraduate degree and two years for a postgraduate degree, to derive the estimated overall cost per country of studying at university abroad.

The global average cost was calculated by averaging the cost estimated by each respondent, excluding those from countries where the sample size was too low.

The exchange rates used are based on the NZForex 2016 average yearly rate.

The Value of Education

The Value of Education is an independent consumer research study into global education trends, commissioned by HSBC. Higher and higher, the fourth report in the series, was published in June 2017 and represents the views of 8,481 parents in 15 countries and territories around the world: Australia, Canada, China, Egypt, France, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mexico, Singapore, Taiwan, UAE, UK and USA.

The findings are based on a sample of parents with at least one child aged 23 or younger currently (or soon to be) in education, drawn from nationally representative online panels in each country or territory. At least 500 parents (including 150 with a child at university or college), were surveyed in all countries. In the UK, 1,001 parents (including 202 with a child at university or college) were surveyed. In China, 946 parents (including 504 from the Pearl River Delta region) were surveyed.

Unless otherwise stated, the survey figures cited in this press release are based on parents who have a child in either pre-primary, primary or secondary education and would consider sending them to university abroad. In some instances, variances between 2016 vs 2017 data have been shown for information purposes only and may not represent statistically significant increases / decreases.

The research was conducted online by Ipsos MORI in February 2017, with interviews in Egypt conducted face-to-face. Read the US report here.

Institute of International Education (IIE)

HSBC has partnered with the Institute of International Education (IIE), one of the world's largest and most experienced international exchange organizations, which aims to advance international education and access to education. The IIE has contributed additional data and insights from multiple sources, including its annual Open Doors report on international higher education students coming to the US and Project Atlas - a collaboration with agencies in other markets to collect equivalent data. The IIE has also provided researched data from additional third party sources such as UNESCO and the OECD. Figures reflect the most recent data available by Project Atlas country and data partners at the time of publication. For further information on the IIE and its research, visit:

HSBC Bank USA, National Association (HSBC Bank USA, N.A.), with total assets of US$191.9bn as of 30 June 2017 (US GAAP), serves customers through retail banking and wealth management, commercial banking, private banking, asset management, and global banking and markets segments. It operates 229 bank branches throughout the United States. There are 146 in New York as well as branches in: California; Connecticut; Delaware; Washington, D.C.; Florida; Maryland; New Jersey; Pennsylvania; Virginia; and Washington. HSBC Bank USA, N.A. is the principal subsidiary of HSBC USA Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of HSBC North America Holdings Inc. HSBC Bank USA, N.A. is a Member of the FDIC.

HSBC Holdings plc, the parent company of the HSBC Group, is headquartered in London. The Group serves customers worldwide from around 3,900 offices in 67 countries and territories in Europe, Asia, North and Latin America, and the Middle East and North Africa. With assets of US$2,492bn at 30 June 2017, HSBC is one of the world's largest banking and financial services organizations.

1 OECD Education Indicators in Focus 14, July 2013

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