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Students, sustainability and study choices

Updated: Jan 22

Students, sustainability and study choices: Findings from a survey of 2,000 prospective students

Executive summary

It would be an understatement to say that there has been increased focus upon the way that universities improve the world around them over recent years. The public has perhaps never been more aware of the positive contributions made by universities than during the pandemic.

This renewed public appreciation of such major contributions during the pandemic perhaps masks some of the more consistent, ongoing work delivered by institutions across the globe. Most of us in the sector have a strong appreciation for the diverse ways that universities have made the world a better place to live in. At THE we have long sought to celebrate these transformative impacts on societies and economies around the world.

Another trend in the HE landscape is increasing belief in the widely held truism that the sector is catering to an ever more sustainability-conscious and impact-minded student market. It does not take long to find headlines about Gen Z leading the pack in the sustainable development charge. Despite this, we rarely hear from students about how much sustainability matters to them and what they expect from universities in terms of real-world impact.

I am therefore delighted to present this fascinating THE Consultancy report, that focuses upon findings from a survey of 2,000 prospective international students, with respondents sourced from the Student Pulse panel, a new panel of prospective students from across the world. It is great to see the findings generated by this panel, and I’m excited to see its future uses. Our team asked prospective students about sustainability, the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and how these views influence their study choices. Phil Baty CHIEF KNOWLEDGE OFFICER TIMES HIGHER EDUCATION


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