England sees 24 per cent drop in students from European Union

Fall is major factor in student numbers from abroad dropping for first time in almost three decades

April 2, 2014

The number of overseas higher education students studying in England declined in 2012-13 for the first time in 29 years – but students from the European Union have turned their backs on English institutions far more than those from elsewhere in the world.

A new report released today by the Higher Education Funding Council for England found that the number of full-time undergraduate entrants from the EU declined by 24 per cent last academic year, “probably due to the increased tuition fees” brought in across England in 2012-13.

Yet undergraduate entrants from outside the EU increased by 2 per cent in 2012-13, with large increases from Hong Kong and Singapore. However, entrants from India, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia all fell by at least 10 per cent, and even the number from China dipped by 2 per cent.

EU students entering taught postgraduate programmes fell by 8 per cent in 2012-13, compared with a fall of 1 per cent for those from outside the EU.

The report does not mention the axing of the post-study work visa in 2012, which ended the automatic right of international students to work for two years after graduation and has been blamed for a substantial decline in applications from India.

The report, Global Demand for English Higher Education, also highlights the dependence of some courses on non-UK students.

“Full-time postgraduate master’s courses are increasingly reliant on international entrants – 74 per cent of entrants in 2012-13 were from outside the UK,” it says.

“Given the high exposure at postgraduate masters level to non-UK demand, any fluctuations could have an impact on the viability of some subjects at certain English HEIs.”


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Reader's comments (1)

The Conservatives promised to reduce migration. The policy seems to be working, at least with students. Germany, with a considerable language barrier, is going in the opposite direction: They actually want the students to stay on working (and paying taxes) in Germany after graduation to fill the skills shortage. Over a 100,000 students arrived in Germany last year.

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