Michael Peak, Senior Adviser, Education Research, said:
“Figures released by HESA today show the continuing importance of international students to UK universities. Many courses would not be available to UK students without the presence of international students: 58% of full time students on post graduate taught courses are from outside the UK. This ensures that crucial courses remain accessible to UK students and to supply talent to UK business.
“The UK continues to be the 2nd most popular international study destination, with 231,495 new enrolments in 2015-16, and UK qualifications are growing in popularity globally, with over 700,000 students obtaining a UK qualification outside of the UK.
“However, growth is minimal for numbers physically coming to the UK for their study experience when latest figures show over 1 million students studying in USA (growth of 7%), and strong growth to Australia, China, Canada and other study destinations.
“UK government and universities must work together to ensure that the UK doesn’t lose its leading position in an increasingly competitive environment, and with it, the benefits that international students bring to the economyand universities.
“The new Education is GREAT campaign, Study UK: Discover You, promotes the UK’s globally recognised academic excellence as well as the rich and vibrant UK student experience to ensure that our universities continue to attract the brightest and best from around the world.”