In spite of travel bans and lockdown restrictions imposed in the UK in order to prevent COVID-19 spread, international admissions at British universities have increased, according to the latest figures published by the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS).
UCA’s data shows that the number of international students admitted to UK universities who are expected to begin their first year this autumn has increased by 9 per cent, reaching 44,300 students in total.
Usually, fewer than half of the more than 100,000 international undergraduates heading to the UK are included in UCAS statistics, excluding the postgraduate students who do not apply through admission offices but individually to universities.
Meanwhile, the admission officers stated that a record number of first-year students coming from poor areas has been noticed, 22.5 per cent of which from areas with the lowest educational achievements.
In addition, a new record has been set by UK’s 18-year-olds, as 36 per cent of them will be involved in higher education this year, which is more than ever.
“Overall demand for higher education has increased during the coronavirus pandemic, and there are currently a record 515,650 students with a confirmed place, up 4% on last year,” UCAS announced.
New EU Undergraduate Admissions Drop by 2%
The figures have among others shown that a decrease in the admissions of new EU undergraduates has been registered, marking a drop of two per cent.
The director of the Higher Education Policy Institute, Nick Hillman, said it was obvious that the internal demand would increase besides the decrease in the number of Britain’s 18-year olds.
He also notes that the drop in the number of EU students was also predicted, mainly due to uncertainties caused by Brexit.
“No one predicted such a big increase in non-EU international students and we have to wait to see if they will all actually arrive and then stay the course. But it is a great testament to the underlying strength of our higher education sector, as well as a reflection of the improved migration regime and rising geopolitical tensions between China and the US, that so many people still want to come and study at our fantastic institutions,” he added.
Alongside with the surprising increase in the number of first-year international students enrolled at UK universities, the number of those who have decided to cancel their registrations due to campus restrictions was lower than expected
Figures show that only 8.7 per cent of registered students have deferred their enrollment, which is slightly higher than last year’s, which was 5,4 per cent.
This week, the Student Loans Company announced it has already distributed more than £1bn loans to 414,877 students.
According to statistics by Studying-in-UK.org for the academic year 2018-2019, 2,383,970 students in total were enrolled in higher education institutions in the UK, including internal students as well as the international ones. Amongst them, a total of 120,385 or 35 per cent were Chinese students who came to the UK to pursue their studies at different higher education institutions.
Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) is a UK-based organization which focuses on applications processes in UK higher education institutions.