Oz to overtake UK as most popular location for international students

Australia is set to overtake the UK as the second most popular destination for international students.

According to a paper published by the Centre for Global Higher Education (CGHE), the United States remains the most popular destination for overseas students, but the UK could soon be pushed into third place – if it hasn’t already.

“What we are seeing is a seismic shift in the global student market,” author and CGHE chair Simon Marginson explains. “UK higher education is still highly valued internationally, but the government has held down the growth of international student numbers for five years, by limiting new student numbers and post-study work visas.

“Meanwhile, competitor nations are strongly promoting their international education,” he added.

The report shows that just three years ago the UK was recruiting around 130,000 more international students than Australia each year.

However, successive years of Australia having increases of between 12 per cent to 14 per cent in overseas students have seen it catch up and almost overtake the UK, which has been growing much more slowly.

Australia has particularly succeeded in attracting international students from outside Europe, particularly from China.

In spite of Brexit, the UK remains popular with EU students. However, this could change after 2019 if EU students lose access to loans and are required to pay higher fees.

“Unless UK policy changes tack, the nation will continue to lose global market share,” Marginson continued. “When the data for 2018 comes in, it is possible that Australia will have already passed the UK in total international student numbers.”

Marginson also revealed that that Canada is also catching the UK up in the overseas student market, although won’t overtake it just yet.

The number of overseas students choosing to study in the world’s most popular student location, the United States, has also fallen over the past year. It is suggested that many overseas students feel less welcome studying in the States under the Trump administration than they did previously.

Article published 23rd July 2018