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Meeting the changing expectations of international students

International students are an integral part of campuses across the globe. Their population has been steadily growing for years and their impact is such that nearly all institutions actively target them as part of their recruitment strategy.

Students have now more choice than ever for educational destinations
Students have now more choice than ever for educational destinations

In fact, these students now have more choice than ever for foreign educational destinations, which makes it increasingly challenging for educational institutions seeking to expand their overseas enrollment. To remain competitive, it’s vital to consider the unique perspective of these students. Today’s applicants have rapidly evolving expectations based on their everyday actions.

As international students weigh their ever-growing list of options, the following are key factors that schools should consider in order to address their needs.

  1. Mobile capabilities

Though smartphone adoption is high in North America, other regions have embraced mobile payments at a significantly higher rate. In China for example, 92% of people use phones as their primary method of payment. This number remains high even in rural villages while in the US, smartphone payments dwindle at around 10%. For incoming international students though, offering mobile payment is becoming more of a necessity rather than an option.

  1. More student choice

Many schools that already have one payments provider may wonder why they need an additional resource. Overseas students are used to having numerous choices for payment. While local undergrads often pay tuition via a major bank or credit card, international students are used to their local payment options like UnionPay, AliPay, India Net, iDeal and more.

  1. Self-serve

Being able to track the status of a tuition payment is key for foreign students as international transactions can take time. Offering major credit card options like Visa and Mastercard is valuable as the cards are widely used and payment is instantaneous. If the school’s payment platform can track the details in real-time, it’s highly useful and prevents phone calls to the financial office.

  1. Multi-lingual

Each year hundreds of thousands of foreign youngsters choose to study abroad. In the US, the top countries of origin are: China, India, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, and Canada. Because English is not the official language in the home countries of many of these students, it’s helpful to offer a payment platform in multiple languages.

  1. Simple and secure

Because of the growth of e-commerce across the globe, many students are comfortable with this type of online payment. A school’s platform should mimic this user-friendly interaction so the process is stress-free and simple for users. The student should know their exact cost in their local currency, as rates change daily. Because students can pay tuition, housing and other fees during this transaction, they need to feel secure with their payment.

International students are an important part of today’s higher education culture. Their population is continuously growing but schools can set themselves apart by focusing on the unique needs and expectations of this group. Catering to foreign students can help foster a positive relationship and smooth journey.  

Western Union Business Solutions offers services in over 130 currencies, with a global network spanning 200 countries and territories supported by 70 licenses. Globally, 8 of the top 10 highest ranked universities trust us to manage their international payments.