We present three videos which explore the impact COVID-19 has had on international student enrolments, what the world economic downturn means for the international education sector and how Google trends may be the key to understanding students preferences during this challenging time.  

Let us explain these important data insights…and we promise it is not all doom and gloom!


#1  The impact of COVID-19 on international student enrolments in Australia (April 2020 Key Data).

Surprisingly, the YTD April 2020 data shows that the number of international student enrolments in Higher Education in Australia is higher in 2020 than in 2019. We unpack this and more interesting trends in the latest Studymove key data snapshot. See the complete video via this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bxpiU3UWCcY


Highlights from the video include:


  • The figures provided by the Department of Education show that international student enrolments in higher education in Australia experienced steady growth since 2013 and were in fact higher in April 2020 than April 2019 with a 1% growth or 3,946 more enrolments. 

 Student Enrolments in Australia

  • 80% of total enrolments each year are recorded in the first four months of each year. 

 Student Enrolments in Australia 2019

  • New international student commencements fell by 13% or 12,620 less students in April 2020 compared to April 2019. 

 International Commencements in Australia 2019

  • The level of disruption for Chinese students was massive for Semester 1 2020 as they were unable to return to Australia and in fact we know that 42% of student enrolments are still outside of Australia. International student commencements overall from China fell 26.5% in April 2020. International student commencements from India fell 18.3% in April 2020. 

Australia Top Student Markets 2020


If the higher education sector of Australia does not increase enrolments at all, by December 2020, we will see a similar number of enrolments as reported in 2018. In fact, to get to the same 2018 total enrolment number, we will require 30,000 more commencements which might seem like a big number but in the last two years between July and December, Australian universities actually reported around 78,000 commencements so, we potentially need less than half that to reach 2018 numbers! An interesting scenario to consider.


When the July 2020 data is released in October, we will produce another video with the new insights!


#2  How the Economic downturn will impact on international education

In this video, Keri Ramirez from Studymove looks at some macroeconomic figures based on data released by the International Monetary Fund (IMF). This data provides insights on how the current economic downturn may affect international education strategies around the world. See the complete video via this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BULMOeDt2CY


Highlights from the video include:


  • The initial forecast by the International Monetry Fund (IMF) was that the worlds economy would grow by 3.3% however the impact of COVID-19 has meant that they now predict the economy will decrease by 3% with all regions around the world experiencing a potential downturn of different magnitudes. 

 COVID-19 Economic Growth

  • IMF predicts that Asia will experience a more rapid recovery in 2021 with China potentially growing its economy by 1.2%, India by 1.9%, Philippines by 0.6% and Vietnam by 2.7%. 


  • We know that COVID-19 is creating unprecedented levels of unemployment around the world. The impact on the number of people enrolling in education programs is yet to be measured however, there is a very interesting piece of research conducted by UK universities which shows that higher unemployment rates during a recession may lead to a higher demand for education services.  The theory behind this relationship is quite simple; if an individual loses their job they might consider undertaking an education program to up-skill. 

 COVID-19 Impact Universities



#3  How can Google Trends assist Education Providers during COVID-19?

The international education sector is dealing with a period of uncertainty, complexity and confusion unlike anything we’ve known before. In this short video we explain how google trends may help the international education sector. See the complete video via this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tg6Tw9STUoc


Google Trends analyses a portion of the three billion daily Google Search searches and provides data on geospatial and temporal patterns in search volumes for user-specified terms. It is a useful tool to assess people's intentions based on their online search activity.



Highlights from the video include:


  • Searches for Hotels, Flights and IELTS experienced a dramatic fall in April 2020 comparing against the previous year. 

 Google Trends International Education

  • As you see in the graphs, the term Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) is relatively more popular than “online courses” or “online education”. Australian institutions need to consider this trend and adjust their strategies to ensure they are engaging with potential international student markets more effectively. 

 Google Trends International Education COVID-19

  • When we consider the google search trends in China, it is evident that the term MOOCs is gaining traction and it highlights how institutions, education agents or even Governments could possibly offer MOOCs along with “Online courses” as part of their future marketing strategy in China. 




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