Can ANZ Beat Last Year's Surge in International Student Numbers?

Posted by Tribal Group

The Australia-New Zealand (ANZ) region has been riding a wave of success in international education, with a remarkable 71% increase in international student applications in early 2023 compared to the same period in 2022. This surge was attributed to several factors, including the timely reopening of borders and the commitment to providing world-class education. Now, the question on everyone's mind is whether ANZ can maintain this momentum and surpass last year's record-breaking numbers. 


A Year of Uncertainty

While the surge in international student applications in early 2023 is undoubtedly impressive, it comes on the heels of a tumultuous period marked by the COVID-19 pandemic. The reopening of borders was a significant step towards recovery, but it's important to acknowledge the ongoing challenges and uncertainties. 

The situation remains dynamic and travel restrictions could still be imposed in response to changing circumstances. This uncertainty will no doubt affect the confidence of international students and their families in planning their academic journeys. 

ANZ also faces stiff competition from other countries aspiring to attract international students. Hot on the heels of such an incredible increase, nations like Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States are aggressively vying for a share of the international student market. We’ve seen no shortage of innovation when it comes to policies and marketing strategies aimed at wooing potential students. 

Of course we shouldn’t forget the economic repercussions of the pandemic have strained many families' financial situations. Tuition fees, cost of living, and availability of scholarships can play a significant role in students' decisions, and ANZ institutions need to be cognizant of the financial challenges students may face. 


Strategies for Sustaining Growth: 

While the challenges are formidable, ANZ can continue to build on its recent success, though continuing the curve won’t be by accident. Only the smartest strategies will see institutions coming out on top, and even then, it isn’t going to be easy but here are some strategies you can implement to help sustain the growth:

1. Prioritising student well-being

It almost goes without saying that continuing to prioritise the safety and well-being of international students will be crucial. This includes robust health and safety protocols, easy access to support services, clear process for requesting support, and transparent communication regarding any changes in student-related policies.

2. Diversifying Academic Programs

We’ve already seen ANZ institutions attempting to attract a wider range of students by diversifying their academic programs. This trend could evolve with the introduction of new courses, online learning options, and flexible study pathways to accommodate the various needs of international students.

3. Providing the right support to your students

Providing financial support in the form of scholarships, grants, or part-time work opportunities can help nudge institutions across Australia and New Zealand to become more accessible and appealing to a broader audience.

4. Marketing strategies that appeals to international students

Another trend we’ve seen worldwide is wholesale changes in institutions’ approach to student marketing and recruitment. Australia-New Zealand region institutions should continue to invest in effective marketing and promotion strategies to maintain their visibility and appeal in the international student market. Highlighting the unique cultural experiences, natural beauty, and career opportunities these countries offer can be persuasive.


All eyes are on Australia-New Zealand 

The surge in international student numbers in early 2023 was a remarkable achievement for the ANZ region, driven by a combination of strategic decisions and a commitment to excellence in education. However, sustaining and surpassing this success in the face of ongoing challenges will require agility, adaptability, and a continued focus on the needs and aspirations of international students.

As ANZ embarks on this journey, it must be remembered that the global education landscape is ever-changing. By staying responsive to evolving circumstances, nurturing diversity, and maintaining a strong commitment to safety and academic quality, all eyes are on ANZ to see whether they not only beat last year's surge, but continue to shine as a beacon of international education excellence. 


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