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Funding and Visa Information Greatest Challenges for Prospective Students

Funding and Visa Information Greatest Challenges for Prospective Students main image

As part of our annual report on prospective students’ use of online resources, Students Online: Global Trends, we asked university applicants around the world what information they find hardest to access online. Unsurprisingly, the largest informational challenge by far was related to university scholarships and funding options – and this was true for applicants in every world region, across every age group and at every level of study.

The second biggest challenge for prospective students was visa information, followed by information about university applications and admission requirements. Details of course content came next, while just a small proportion of respondents reported difficulty in finding adequate information about the study location.

Information about course content a high priority for prospective students in the US and Canada

Compared to prospective students in other world regions, those in the US and Canada were most likely to report difficulties in accessing online information about course content. In turn, they were less likely to say they’d struggled to access visa information – perhaps because they were less likely to be considering studying abroad. In comparison, prospective students in Latin America were almost twice as likely to name visa information as a challenge, with the opposite trend applying in relation to course content.

Survey respondents in the US and Canada also reflect current concerns about the cost of higher education and the difficulties of finding ways to fund university. Over 40% of informational challenges reported by prospective students in the US and Canada were linked to university scholarships and funding, with a higher percentage seen only among those in Africa.

University scholarships and funding information hardest to access for PhD applicants

While university scholarships and funding options were identified as the biggest online research challenge by prospective students at all levels, those applying for PhD places were especially likely to report problems accessing this information. Almost 44% of informational challenges for PhD applicants were linked to scholarships and funding, compared to 38% among those at master’s level and 36% at undergraduate level.

Meanwhile undergraduate applicants were significantly more likely to identify information about potential study locations as a challenge. They were the only group to report greater difficulties in this area than in finding information about course content or university applications and admissions – though visa information remained their second biggest challenge.

Written by Laura Bridgestock
The former editor of TopUniversities.com, Laura oversaw the site's editorial content and student forums. She also edited the QS Top Grad School Guide and contributed to market research reports, including 'How Do Students Use Rankings?'

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