What kind of purchase is international education?

How is international education looked at by parents and students?


Shane Dillon

3 years ago | 2 min read

Recently an international student graduate successfully sued her university in the UK, claiming that her degree was ‘fraudulently misrepresented’ in the prospectus for marketing statements that it was a "renowned centre of excellence’ that offered a "high quality of teaching."

The student who graduated with a first-class degree stated "I think they often make promises which they know will never materialise or are simply not true.”

This got me thinking about what international students are purchasing when they pay for international education. In other words from an economic point of view "What kind of good is education?"

Looking at the data we collect through our International Graduate Employment and Satisfaction (ISEOS) project at Cturtle and UniAdvisor I believe there are several ways students (and parents) look at this purchase.

● Insurance (Buying protection for the future)

● Consumption (Buying an experience)

● Membership (Joining an elite club or Buying points to immigrate)

● Investment (Looking for a Return on Investment)


Are students buying an international education to mitigate the risk of falling through the cracks in society, so even if it is not a great investment it is still an important type of insurance for their future?

6% of international students go abroad because their parents think they should.

Consumption Product (Buying an experience)

Are students buying a four-year education-themed holiday - see the world, practice English and have fun?

39% of international students see the purchase as an opportunity to live abroad.

Membership (Joining an elite club)

Are students buying membership into an elite club where the value is in who is excluded from the experience and the personal connections they can make along the way. Did someone say Ivy League?

8% of international students choose their university based on the alumni engagement.

Investment (Looking for a return on investment)

81% of international students see buying an international education as an investment to "improve career opportunities" or "pursue a specific career."

They are looking for a return on investment through employment outcomes and therefor are justified in their expectation that pre-departure information is transparent and accurate.

Like any investment, the more the investor knows about the product the better investment decision they can make.

As the competition (and reliance) on international student revenue increases in the post COVID world we believe it will be universities who can prove – with data – employment support and graduate job outcomes of their international students who will win the competition for future international student enrollments.


Shane Dillon is the founder of Cturtle, the data company and employment network for international graduates globally. Their JOB+ Program gets international students and graduates in Australia, UK, USA and Canada jobs and internships globally.


JOB+ Link

Shane is also the founder of UniAdvisor where you can search the best universities in Australia, UK, Canada and USA for international students based on rankings and student reviews.


Created by

Shane Dillon

I am the founder of Cturtle - a data company and employment network for university graduates globally. Cturtle is the market leader in using data to help international students get graduate jobs. Our JOB+ Career Accelerator program gives students the work experience and professional network needed







Related Articles