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Chinese and Indian students continue to drive growth for UKs higher education sector

According to the latest data released by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA), the number of international students has been on the rise in the UK even during the pandemic.
BY BrainGain Magazine Staff Writer |   28-01-2022

BrainGain Magazine
Photo by George Pak from Pexels

In early 2021, the UK had released a new education policy aimed at hosting 600,000 international students in the country by 2030. The newest HESA figures indicate that the country’s higher education sector has achieved its target ten years in advance. In 2020-21, 605,130 international students chose the UK as a higher education destination.

Of the total international student population, 75% of international students were non-EU. And the overall number of international students increased 9% over the previous year.

The rise in international student numbers was driven by students from China and India. China remains the largest source of international students. 139,130 Chinese students were studying in the UK in 2019-20. The second largest source country was India, with 52,545 students.

However, what was significant was the 27% increase in first-year students from India in 2020-21. While for the first time, students from China decreased by 5% owing to pandemic restrictions.

HESA observed that along with undergraduates the population of taught postgraduate students, both domestic and international, have continued to increase.

The rise in UK’s popularity is driven by a reputation for quality education and the convenient visa route offered to graduates. The latter allows students to stay in the country and look for work without being sponsored by a company. UK’s popularity even during the pandemic is a testament to the strong pull that a country’s image and its post-study work options exert on the international student cohort.



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