A few weeks ago, the British government introduced its new International Education Strategy, the goal of which is to attract an additional 90,000 university students from overseas by 2018. According to the report, the education exports industry—which includes everything from tuition paid by international students to the overseas branches of British schools—adds £17.5 billion, or $26.5 billion, to the national economy.
The United Kingdom wishes to increase partnerships with other countries, encourage more British students to study overseas, and expand the Chevening Scholarship program, which finances foreign students studying in Britain. Business Secretary Vince Cable said in a statement, “Overseas students make a huge contribution to Britain. They boost our economy, and enhance our cultural life, which is why there is no cap on the number of legitimate students who can study here.”
Research suggests that as many as a third of the educational institutions in Britain, including some of the country’s finest, will recruit more students from outside Britain and the EU this year, continuing an already established trend. In the last ten years alone, the proportion of international students recruited to British universities has doubled. In fact, half of all students enrolled in postgraduate courses are now foreign.
Much of this increase in international students is due to the financial benefits that they bring. A study by the think-tank Policy Exchange found that overseas students were seen as a “lucrative source of income for a growing number of universities.”
A recent study by the Telegraph surveyed almost half of the universities in the UK. Of the 30 that responded, more than a third reported that they were planning on increasing the number of international students accepted this year. This included Cardiff, Plymouth, Reading, Royal Holloway, West of England, and the University of Wales, Newport. The number of international students at Oxford has risen from 385 to 582 in the last five years, and the upward trend is expected to continue.
Want to study in the UK? Check out International Student’s Study in the UK Guide.