British Council response to HESA figures

Thursday 16 January 2014

British Council response to HESA figures on international students in the UK 2012/13

Commenting on today’s Higher Education Statistics Authority release “Higher Education student enrolments and qualifications obtained at Higher Education Institutions in the United Kingdom for the academic year 2012/13”, Professor Rebecca Hughes, the British Council’s Director of International Higher Education, said:

“Overall, these results show that traditional patterns of growth are changing and the UK will have to continue to work hard to explore new opportunities for international expansion. The 5% growth in students studying UK qualifications outside of the UK demonstrates the strength of the UK’s world class reputation, and the continued increase in students from China, Malaysia and Hong Kong is also very positive. As a proportion of the UK’s total student body, international (non-EU) students actually grew slightly between 11-12 and 12-13, showing that international students are increasingly important to our higher education sector.

“It is of course a concern that the numbers of new Indian and Pakistani students coming to the UK have dropped. A survey of over 10,000 Indian students we ran in November 2013 found that the UK was the most popular destination for Indian students, but there are multiple factors that influence decision-making. Quality of education and then cost of study and living are currently the most significant factor for Indians considering whether to study abroad. The number of potential students from those countries is set to grow over the next decade, so it’s vital that the right conditions can be established that allow the most ambitious students to benefit from a UK education. The British Council is working with the government and institutions towards that.”

Notes to Editor

The British Council in India surveyed the views of 10,389 Indian students in November 2013. The report is available here http://www.britishcouncil.org/organisation/press/young-indians-continue-favour-uk-universities

High quality courses and institutions remained by far the greatest pull factor for the students when choosing whether to study at home or abroad. The UK was the most favoured destination, chosen by 21% of respondents, followed by the United States, 19% and India,14%. When asked for the three most important factors in selecting a study destination, the largest group, 61%, said quality of education. Cost was the second consideration, cited by 42% and 43% said they would be influenced by scholarship opportunities. Nearly a quarter, 23%, said the option to work in the foreign country after graduation and whilst studying was important to them.

The full HESA release is available here http://www.hesa.ac.uk/sfr197.

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