Parents – what are they thinking?

Reforms across emerging and frontier markets – be it capital markets, political, economic or social – is leading to growing levels of consumerism across 67 countries which INTCAS has been tracking since 2011. Such economies are now witnessing increased access to finances. In recent decades, parents from a community of “newly created wealth generators” have witnessed increased spending power. This has encouraged western brands to invest into such economies providing families access to western goods and services. So once families have acquired a new car, purchased a new home – in one of the cities newly created skyscrapers – and have embraced the latest smart technologies, the question of education also begin to surface.
Proprietary research conducted by INTCAS has focused on the key decision-making variables influencing parents when seeking to help their child study abroad.
Major countries included Turkey, India, Thailand, Vietnam, Pakistan, KSA, China & Nigeria.
Here you will find the 6 most important points from the research:

1. Cultural Alignment
Parents consistently seek to send their children to countries, cities or town which – where possible – closely reflects their cultural beliefs and values. For instance, some Thai parents explained how they wanted access to local cuisines or areas of worship. Indian parents explained that they wanted their child to have access to the Indian diaspora in case their child needed access to Indian amenities. KSA parents feared that their child may return after 4 years abroad completely removed from their culture. As such, parents wanted a small element of middle eastern culture in the form of local communities or access to such communities. Institutions would benefit immensely if they were able to dissect the cultural and social environment around a 30KM radius of the campus. This could then be communicated to parents through their INTCAS profile pages.

2. Family & Friend Connections
Sending their children to countries where there are family and friends provided parents a level of comfort in case of emergencies. Although many institutions have safeguarding measures and staff that are accessible through hotlines, some parents were more relieved knowing that a friend or family member were in the same country, city or town. Institutions can benefit immensely by forming intimate relationships with such family friends and weaving them into the decision-making process. Research conducted by INTCAS gave rise to the need for institutions to ask such questions during the application and admission process to strengthen the psychological bond with parents.

3. Immigration Policies
Parents needed to understand the efficiency in which visas would be granted or renewed in case their child wished to progress further. Deeper insight revealed the visa refusal rates, how appeals were managed and how welcoming were host governments. Parents were sensitive to changing immigration policies and this could impact their child’s future if post-study work rights were to be engaged.

4. Career Planning
Parents had a minimum 15-year trajectory when seeking to explore and plan their child’s education journey. Institutions needed to understand that a student’s transient journey along this 15-year journey and how marketing messages needed to clearly articulate how studying at a given institution helps build and strengthen the plans within this 15-year journey.

5. Access to Finance & Protection
Parents were acutely aware that they had the liquidity to service debt and were open to connecting with financial institutions who could offer favourable loans which could be serviced through their annual income, savings or investments. Equally, parents were mindful that any financing through debt or payments using savings needed a level of protection. Banking institution equally required comfort of providing loans to students and parents who were credit-worthy. INTCAS’s Global Fee Protection Plan provided comfort to all stakeholders.

6. Decision Maker
Who actually makes the final decision? In India, it was discovered that whilst mothers engaged heavily in the information gathering process, the ultimate “blessing” came from grand-parents. In China and Turkey, it was discovered that mothers would plan for their child’s education 5 years from inception of an application. This gave insight into forward planning required by institutions to connect with schools early. INTCAS helps such institutions to link with parents early in the process to help harness the relationship.

If you are an education institution seeking to attract more international students and would like to learn more about how parents across the world are making more informed decisions relating to their child’s education, then why not connect with INTCAS.
Send us an email on letsconnect@intcas.com or call our Global Support Centre on +44 (0)207 118 1822.