85% Malaysian students prefer shorter university time due financial concern


Eighty-five percent of Malaysian students prefer shorter university time if it were cheaper while 78% would rather their university offered more choice for online learning if it meant paying lower tuition fees.

These findings were the second-highest of any country polled in the Global Student Survey 2022 by Chegg.org.

The survey also discovered that 49% of Malaysian students have a debt or loan related to their college/university studies which is the third-highest of any country surveyed.

When asked what they thought was the single biggest issue facing their generation, 33% “the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer”, followed by 28% who said “access to good quality jobs”.

Whereas globally, 66% of students in 20 out of 21 countries preferred their university to offer more online learning if it means paying lower tuition fees.

“Nearly six in 10 (59%) students worldwide say that, if it were cheaper, they would prefer their university degree take a shorter amount of time to complete, an increase from 54% in 2021,” Chegg.org said in a statement on Apr 29.

Not only that, the number of students expressing this view increased in almost every country surveyed, apart from China, India and the US.

This survey is based on in-depth opinion polling of over 17,000 undergraduate students aged 18 to 21 years across 21 countries, including 529 students in Malaysia.

The questions cover views on learning in the age of Covid-19 and beyond, how they coped with their finances and the cost of living, skills and careers, their health, wellbeing and social attitudes, and climate change and sustainability. 

Meanwhile, 47% of Malaysian students said they were optimistic about the country, which is down from 52% in 2021.

“Fewer Malaysian students are saying their country is a good place to live. Nearly two-thirds (65%) say their country is a good place to live in 2022 down from 71% in 2021,” the survey noted.

President and CEO Dan Rosensweig in response to the survey said college students are finally now readjusting to campus life after experiencing the greatest disruption to education the world has ever known.

However, he opined that students are currently facing profound societal challenges including widening inequality, increasing automation, and climate change.

“These findings imply that higher education must become more accessible, affordable and responsive to what learners really need.

“In particular, students need their universities to provide more mental health support, teach the skills for tomorrow’s careers, and respond to their clear concerns about the environment. 

“By doing so, we can help this generation face the future with confidence,” Rosensweig added.

Despite that, in terms of homeownership, the survey noted that Malaysian students are becoming more optimistic about their ability to buy a home in the near future with 78% thinking they will be able to own their own home before the age of 35 as compared to 73% in 2021.

Whereas, for owning a home before the age of 35, only 5% of Malaysian students said they did not believe they would do so.

Another interesting global highlight according to the survey is only 54% of students globally think their teachers or professors know how to teach effectively online.

It also discovered that 32%  said their mental health worsened since starting on campus or returning to campus after lockdown restrictions. 

Conversely, the student-related debt has brought adverse impact to them with 25% of students worldwide said it has made them so anxious they have sought medical help over it

“43% say it makes them wish they had made a different choice (up from 38% in 2021); and 28% don’t think they will ever pay it off,” the survey noted.

In addition to that, the survey found out 57% of students worldwide have struggled to afford either housing costs, utility bills, food, or medical treatment and services in the last 12 months.

On the climate change view, 74% of students worldwide say they worry about it while 29% say it will have an impact on their decision whether to have children.

In that regard, 32% of students worldwide say they have reduced their meat consumption in the last five years due to environmental concerns, while 48% said they have not. 

The survey also unveiled that 20% of students worldwide have pursued a career that focuses on sustainability, and only 42% thought their college or university is addressing issues around sustainability well.