UK warned not to take appeal for international students ‘for granted’

UK warned not to take appeal for international students ‘for granted’
International students thought to be worth £25.9bn a year to UK economy

The UK cannot take its appeal for international students “for granted”, a new report has warned amid a drop in EU student numbers.

It comes against a backdrop of uncertainty caused by the Covid pandemic and changes to tuition fees for EU students following Brexit, both of which have hit international student numbers at British universities.

在 2018-2019, when the new analysis is based off, there were 496,000 international students in the UKwhich worked out at around 20 per cent of all higher education students.

But the UK’s exit from the EU has “severely affected” EU student recruitment, according to the report by the the Higher Education Policy Institute (Hepi) think-tank and Universities UK International (UUKi).

The latest Ucas figures show the number of EU students accepted onto undergraduate degree courses has dropped by more than 50 per cent this year.

The Hepi and UUKi report said: “The UK cannot take its attractiveness as a study destination for international students for granted”.

One year’s intake brings in a net economic benefit of £25.9bn to the UK economy, which is spread across the UK, according to the analysis.

The report highlighted the economic benefits for different areas for the 2018-2019 intake, including 290m for Sheffield Central, £261m for Nottingham South and £243m for Holborn and St Pancras in London.

“This report confirms higher education is one of the UK’s greatest export earners,” Nick Hillman, the director of Hepi, 说.

他加了: “But international students do not just bring financial benefits. They also bring educational benefits by making our campuses more diverse and exciting places to be.”

Mr Hillman said the government was “gradually becoming more positive about international students”. But he added: “The current halving in the number of EU students confirms future success cannot be taken for granted.”

The number of EU students accepted onto undergraduate degree courses is 56 per cent lower this year than at the same time last year, while non-EU international students are up five per cent, the latest Ucas data suggests.

Vivienne Stern, director of UUKi, 说: “While there has been a growing realisation of the tremendous social and cultural benefits of international students, this study provides a stark reminder of their financial importance to communities across the UK, economic recovery and the levelling up agenda.

她补充说: “We need to work hard to recover our position in a range of countries where the UK used to be a first or second-choice destination, but isn’t any more.”

A Department for Education (DfE) spokesperson said: “International students are a vital and valued part of our higher education sector and having a proactive global education agenda is more important than ever so that we can recover from the pandemic.

“That is why we published an update to the International Education Strategy, which contained a number of specific commitments to improve the international student journey.”

They added: “This government has also recently opened up the globe to our young people through the Turing Scheme which is committed to making sure students from the UK, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds, can benefit from studying and working abroad and the exciting and enriching opportunities that brings.”

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