Overseas Partnerships Help Attracting Int’l Students to UK, Research Says

The overseas delivery and partnerships of UK Universities have played a significant role in bringing international undergraduate students onshore before the COVID-19 pandemic spread worldwide, new research has shown.

According to the research carried out by the British Council and Universities UK International (UUKi), between 2018 and 2019, almost 17 per cent of all non-UK first-degree applicants from abroad came through UK university programs delivered out of the UK and credit recognition agreements, Erudera College News reports.

The joint report titled “Transnational Routes to Onshore UK Higher Education” asserts that the offshore programs have brought nearly 17,000 new international students to the United Kingdom every year, for the past four years.

The British Council report author, Matt Durnin, said that as distractions on student mobility continue, there are more chances to see a higher demand for UK programs delivered overseas.  According to him, the Corona pandemic could also push universities to be more critical towards their global activities’ financial sustainability.

“All we can say for sure now is that overseas partnerships will continue to be important after the pandemic, and yet they will also likely look somewhat different than they did before.”

Several universities have announced that students have shown more interests in transnational education, who on the contrary would have headed abroad to complete their whole degree.

Informal evidence secured through interviews for the report claim that student mobility could drop significantly during the 2020/21 academic year, especially to students from China. Through transnational education courses, the latter are offered the options to complete their final part of studies abroad or to complete the whole degree in China.

Head of TNE at Universities UK International and an important contributor to the report, Eduardo Ramos, said that the report shows various ways how the UK universities can attract and recruit international students.

“Transnational routes to onshore recruitment have the benefits of offering greater flexibility, the ability to earn both UK and local qualifications, and the chance for those who could not afford to study an entire overseas degree to experience university education in the UK.”

According to data, student mobility through partnerships depends on the region. Higher numbers have been noticed in student mobility with China and Malaysia, with more than a third of Chinese entrants to UK first degree programs, and 40 per cent of Malaysian entrants.

Differently, the role of partnerships in mobility from EU countries was smaller. Only 10 per cent of new undergraduates have entered the UK through these paths.

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