England's Appeal To International Students Declines

By ExpatBriefing.com Editorial 03 April, 2014

The number of international students enrolling on courses offered by universities in England has declined for the first time in 29 years, new figures show.

Overall, full-time international enrollments at universities and colleges dropped from 311,800 in 2011-12 to 307,205 in 2012-13.

Nevertheless, foreign students continue to make up an increasing proportion of entrants to postgraduate courses, and China is bucking the trend by sending an increasing number to England to study each year.

The trend is analyzed in a study from the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), the public body that regulates universities and colleges in England.

The body found that international entrants to full-time post-graduate courses with supplied teaching had decreased by 1 percent between 2010-11 and 2012-13, in stark contrast with double-digit growth seen previously.

HEFCE found that there was a particular decline in traditional UK postgraduate markets, such as India, Pakistan, and Iran. Admission to English higher education institutions from India and Pakistan has halved since 2010.

However, the number of entrants from other countries has grown, and in 2012-13 students from China represented 23 percent of all entrants to full-time postgraduate courses with supplied teaching. This is just three percentage points lower than the number of full-time postgraduate entrants who are UK residents.

International students in 2012-13 represented 74 percent of Masters entrants, up from 66 percent in 2005-06.

Meanwhile, the number of full-time undergraduate entrants from European Union countries (excluding the UK) fell by almost a quarter in 2012-13, likely in response to higher tuition fees.

Despite this, overall numbers of international undergraduate entrants have continued to rise, although at a lower rate than previously was the case. For undergraduate courses in 2013-14, there was a three percent rise in arrivals on the previous year, due in part to more arrivals from Hong Kong. The number of students from Brazil doubled also, reaching 500.

The study also found that around a quarter of all full-time undergraduate international entrants in 2012-13 transferred on to a course in England at a point after the course's start. This was due to entrants having studied previously elsewhere, either in the UK, in an overseas institution with a special arrangement, or on a program delivered by an English institution overseas. There is also increasing demand for transnational education (TNE), whereby a student receives education in a different country from that of the awarding institution. According to HEFCE, numbers grew by 24,500 in 2012-13, representing an increase of 5 percent.

HEFCE says that it will now look to investigate retention rates and outcomes for international students.

Tags: United Kingdom | Education | Expats | Education |


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