UCAS predicts a 50% increase in international applications to the UK

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UCAS predicts a 50% increase in international applications to the UK

The number of applications of international students applying to UK universities is set to increase by 50%. The report has come from a survey conducted by UCAS and CollegeBoard.

In the report titled ‘Where Next? What influences the choices international students make?’, UCAS has predicted that the volume of international undergraduate applicants will increase by 46% to 208,500 by 2026.

According to a survey of over 1,200 students from 116 countries, factors such as global admiration of the NHS and the English language were important for those considering pursuing higher studies at a UK University. 

Why do international students choose to study in the UK?

UCAS and College Board’s new report depicts that during the global pandemic, 88% of students viewed the UK as either a positive or very positive place to study, while 77% said they were applying because of the country’s strong academic reputation.

College Board’s vice president of international, Linda Liu said: “As we are on the precipice of the world reopening, these results reaffirm the desire of so many students to study in another country.”

“We see this desire manifest in our programs at the College Board, from the many students who want to send their SAT scores to universities outside of their home country to the record-setting number of students taking AP (Advanced Placement) exams outside the US,” Liu concluded.

International Students from different countries had various reasons for wanting to study abroad. 

  • 80% of Nigerian students want to gain skills that would help them in their careers
  • 75% of Indian students said that the most important factor in their decision was the “better quality” universities found abroad compared with those in India.

International Students are also likely to say that securing a job in their destination country, rather than their home country, is their top priority.

International students were also found to be highly independent, with over half of them saying their own research had informed their choice of country to study in, while just 1% referred to their teachers.

Additionally, around 2 out of 3 international students applying to the UK say they are willing to self-fund, compared with 4%  of domestic students.

Admission to High Tariff Universities

International Students are also more likely to prioritise the university they wish to study at than their subject choice – 55% of international students enter high-tariff universities in the UK, 27% points higher than UK students.

More than 70% of international students coming from Singapore, China and Malaysia enter higher tariff universities in the UK.

In 2021, more than half of international students were accepted through UCAS to study in the UK came from seven countries:

  1. China
  2. India
  3. Hong Kong
  4. Malaysia
  5. Portugal
  6. US
  7. Ireland

Countries like Nigeria, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have also seen an increase in university applications to the UK in recent years.

UCAS Chief Executive, Clare Marchant said: 

“International students are showing extraordinary resilience – the universal appeal of living and studying in another country continues.”

“Despite the challenges of the pandemic, international students have pursued the opportunities available to them and we forecast sustained growth in interest to study in the UK to continue into the next decade.”

With reports of visa delays causing students to miss academic start dates floating in, UK universities will have to seek out ways to deal with this increase in the number of applications. 

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