PYMNTs.com, a payment and commerce website, has released its inaugural edition of the Global Citizen Indexâ¢ that examines the cost of higher education at American universities for international students.
In collaboration with Flywire, the Q2 2016 Index focuses explicitly on students coming from China, India, and South Korea who have graduated in the US or are currently working towards their degrees. 31 percent of the international students in the US are from China, 14 percent come from India, and 6 percent are from South Korea. One of the main aims of the Global Citizen Index was to identify how these students are covering their tuition fees in the United States, which are among the highest in the world.
For the purposes of the study, PYMNTS.com did a confidential online survey for people who left their homeland to continue their studies in the US. The researchers sent the questionnaire to current and former students from China, South Korea, and India. Most of the questions were related to their reasons to leave their home countries for school, their previous academic history, how they covered the costs, their family background, and other things that may have influenced their decision to come to the US. PYMNTS received roughly 900 responses.
The research team also interviewed representative global citizens from India and China to understand their life experiences and choices.
The team defines Global Citizens as individuals who have traveled and who usually have the wealth or discretionary source of income to fund the pursuit of their personal priorities, with education being the most important. But the survey also revealed that the price tag of becoming a Global Citizen is different in the three different countries. For example, in South Korea, which has the highest living standard of the three, one needs to make as much as $96,101 annually compared to India, where one needs to earn just $30,889 per year.
The survey results revealed that 26 percent of the Chinese students in the US stated that their mothers were the primary wage earners in the family before they left home for school abroad. 49 percent of surveyed Indian students stated they had a job while still in school in order to make ends meet. 45 percent of the South Korean students in the US said their parents had also studied abroad.
The researchers estimated that 5 percent of the South Korean population, or 2,545,000 individuals, can be referred to as Global Citizens. Among the two most populous countries in the world — China, and India — a narrow difference emerged. Only 539,000 Chinese people, or 0.039 percent of the country's population, are Global Citizens, compared to 441,000 Indians, representing 0.034 percent of the country's population.
The data has shown that 93 percent of the Indians studying abroad are pursuing graduate degrees. On the other hand, Chinese and South Korean students are mainly bachelor-level students.
International students cited multiple reasons for pursuing their education abroad. 68 percent of Chinese students admitted that the better education opportunities were most important for them. 64 percent of the Indian students said that they left their country to seek better career opportunities.
Before moving abroad, most students lived with their parents. Just 20 percent of the South Korean students said they lived on their own or with a partner before moving to the US. The number is lower in India at only 6 percent and even lower — 5 percent — in China.