Образовательные траектории молодежи из стран СНГ в Москве
The article considers various factors shaping the educational strategies of potential students from the NIS countries applying to Russian universities. On the basis of interviews conducted in Moscow in 2014 we identify a number of factors that explain the choice of specific Moscow universities by such students. The key factors mentioned by students include: 1) "common history"; 2) opportunities for tuition-free study; 3) family connections; 4) intention to emigrate from their home country. The article considers the sources of information on opportunities for study in Russia. We argue that the mastery of Russian language is not the most important or primary factor driving the choice of a Russian university: students rarely select a specific university, but rather choose a town where they would like to study. The choice of Russia as a place to study is to a significant degree driven by the existing social and/or family ties. Student choices are also shaped by perception of relative prestige (or lack thereof) of a given university, which are largely determined by the Soviet-era inertia, and not the university's place in global rankings or any certainty regarding the quality of education there.