Institutions across the board want to diversify their international student cohort beyond China and India. Here are the top 5 emerging source markets to watch.


  • Vietnamese families are willing to pay high fees for education.
  • They spend nearly half (47%) of their household expenditure on schooling alone.
  • Together, this amounts to USD 3-4 billion spent studying abroad annually.
  • Top destination markets for Vietnamese students include Japan, USA, and Australia.
Source: VN Express, UNESCO


  • The number of outbound students from Nepal jumped four-fold to 63,000 in the last 5 years.
  • This was largely driven by a lack of domestic options.
  • Top destination markets for Nepalese students include Australia, Japan, and USA.

1% of Nepal’s universities offer post graduate degrees.

Sri Lanka

  • In Sri Lanka, over 40% of the population is of schooling age (under 24 years old).
  • Out of 220,000 students who sit university exams every year, there are only enough seats for 23,000 domestically.
  • The supply-demand gap fuels the ever-rising demand to study abroad.
  • Top destination markets for Sri Lankan students include Australia, USA, and Malaysia.


  • Nigeria’s education sector has been overburdened by strong population growth and a significant ‘youth bulge’.
Source: Nigeria’s National Universities Commission
  • Lack of domestic capacity has left 6.3 million qualifiedNigerians without a place between 2012-2017.
  • Top destination markets for Nigerian students include UK, USA, and Malaysia.


  • Indonesia is in urgent need for a more educated workforce as only 7% currently hold a university education.
  • It is now sending 35% more students abroad than it did a decade ago.
  • Affordability is the most important decision factor and scholarships will play a big role in school selection.
  • Top destination markets for Indonesian students include Australia, Malaysia, and USA.

Data sources include ICEF Monitor, UNESCO, VN Express, World Education News and Reviews (WENR), British Council Report, Nigeria’s National Universities Commission.

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