UK Universities Might Lose Many International Students Due to High Costs & Visa Issues, Analysis Shows

The United Kingdom risks of no longer being the second most preferred study destination for international students as long as other countries worldwide make more efforts to attract overseas students, an analysis by the advocacy organization Universities UK International has shown.

Due to visa difficulties and high costs to pursue higher education in the UK, the country’s universities risk losing large numbers of international students over the upcoming academic years, reports.

The organization has urged for more scholarships, reduced visa fees, more marketing of the UK education, and most importantly, to undertake actions that will help students find jobs in the UK after graduation.

“We need to work hard to recover our position in a range of countries where the UK used to be a first or second-choice destination, but isn’t any more,” the Director of Universities UK International Vivienne Stern stressed.

Countries that are putting the UK “under threat” in terms of attracting international students include the Netherlands, Germany and France. Universities located in these countries are offering various courses for international students taught in English as well as at lower costs compared to the UK.

The Financial Times reports that other countries that have seen an increase in the number of international students include Russia, China, Turkey, and Canada.  

Meanwhile, recent data published by the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) revealed that applications from EU students submitted by the deadline set on June 30 decreased by 43 percent compared to the prior year.

Nevertheless, according to the study findings, the UK is still a popular study destination for international students, as 8 percent of the global market listed it as the second study destination, just behind the United States.

Data from the UK’s Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) revealed that during the 2019/20 academic year, the number of international students in the United Kingdom exceeded 500,000, reaching 556,625 in total. The reason behind this increase is the number of students from outside the European Union, surpassing 400,000 to reach 408,825 for the first time ever over the past academic year.

As the Coronavirus cases continue to rise throughout the United Kingdom and other countries worldwide, over 50 UK universities, including the Russell Group 24 institutions, have chartered flights to bring Chinese students to the United Kingdom in September, fearful about revenue loss due to international travel restrictions. The University of Bristol and the University of Exeter have already chartered four flights for a total of 1,200 Chinese students.

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