Overseas students keen on EU branch campuses of UK universities

Survey reveals Paris is the most popular location among prospective recruits

March 21, 2017
People with red heart balloons outside the Louvre
Source: Getty

International students would be keen to study at branch campuses of UK universities located in the European Union, a new survey suggests.

More than two-thirds (69 per cent) of prospective students based outside the EU said they would be very likely or somewhat likely to choose to study at a continental outpost of a UK university, according to a report by student recruitment and retention solutions company Hobsons.

Among EU respondents, more than three-quarters of prospective students (76 per cent) said they would be very likely or somewhat likely to study at an EU campus based in a country other than their own, but this figure fell to 58 per cent when participants were asked about their attitudes towards a branch campus in their home country.

The results, which were revealed at Universities UK’s International Higher Education Forum on 21 March, form part of Hobsons’ annual International Student Survey, which will be released in full next month. The questions on EU campuses were answered by 814 non-EU students and 135 EU students.

The findings are likely to be welcomed by UK vice-chancellors considering opening an EU branch campus in order to offset any potential drop in the recruitment of EU students or to retain access to EU research funding after Brexit.

When asked how an EU branch campus would impact on their opinion of the UK host university, 42 per cent of all respondents said they would have a better or much better perception of the institution, while the same proportion said there would be no change.

Paris was the most popular location, with 41 per cent of all respondents naming it as their preferred host city for study at a UK university’s overseas campus, followed by Berlin (32 per cent), Amsterdam (31 per cent) and Barcelona (18 per cent).

Last month, the ComUE (consortium of universities and establishments) of the University of Paris Seine invited British institutions to be part of its Paris Seine International Campus.

Jeremy Cooper, managing director of Hobsons EMEA, said: "British universities are great brands, and there is huge potential to evaluate and further develop the market for transnational education."


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