The UK's Attractiveness Among EU International Students Under Threat: UUKi Study


Cyril Zachariah
Updated on Sep 07, 2021 12:17 PM IST

After leaving the EU, the UK’s standing as a top study abroad destination seems to be under threat, as revealed by a study conducted by UUKi. While international students seem to choose UK as the study abroad destination, student applications from EU states drop significantly, as a result of high costs to students and difficult visa processes.

The UK's Attractiveness Among EU International Students Under Threat: UUKi Study

In the fight to attract international students, the UK seems to be losing to its competitors due to several factors including, high costs, limited marketing, visa difficulties and more. This revelation was brought forward after an analysis by Universities UK International was completed.

UUKi commented that Britain and its universities were under threat of losing international applications by universities and higher education institutions encouraging more applications through different efforts.

After gaining the position of being the top study abroad destination after the US, universities in Germany, Netherlands and France with their course offerings at lower costs to international students along with a massive turn of foreign students choosing other countries like China, Canada, Russia and Turkey threatened the UK and its newfound position.

Universities UK International suggested several provisions such as more scholarships, reduced visa fees and a concerted promotion of the value of UK education, stated Financial Times, clubbed with better measures for students to find work in the UK after graduation.

The director of Universities UK International, Vivienne Stern suggested that hard work was required to reclaim their position in countries as one of the top study abroad destinations among students.

The study, published on 6th September 2021 by UUKi, revealed that the UKs attractiveness stood at 8% of the global market, positioning it second after the US with 17%. UK was successful in hosting 550,000 international students in 2019-20, compared to the UK governments global education strategy of 600,000 by 2030.

Also Read: Record Number of Indian Students Accepted by UK Universities: UCAS

FT reported that data compiled by UNESCO highlighted that UKs market share in 201-18 had dropped in 16 among the top 21 sending countries and territories which included India, Nigeria and Pakistan.

Another set of data released from the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) revealed that the number of EU applications by the June 30 deadline had dropped by 43%, compared to the previous year of 28,400. However, this drop was compensated by the rise of non-EU applications, up by 14% to 102,000.

According to a researcher at Oxford Universitys Migration Observatory, Peter William Walsh, EU students seem to be less attracted to the UK as a study destination, most likely due to the countrys exit from the EU, causing an end to free movement. The countrys exit from the EU also meant that EU students will be required to pay the international student fees, which is considerably higher.

Also Read: UK's New Graduate Route Open for International Students

While the UK seems to be under threat, stakeholders keep their hopes up as they claim that the demand UKs international education is very resilient, providing advantages of being the heartland provider of English Language higher education that western Europe cannot match.
In a recent virtual conference held by UKCISA, stakeholders highlighted the efforts and steps taken by UK Universities in offering flexibility and quality of education, thus making it an attractive option for international students. However, as the UK becomes an independent country post-BREXIT, the loss of international students from EU states seem to threaten its standing as a top study abroad destination.

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