UK ‘Likely’ to Lose Second Place Study Abroad Slot to Australia

The UK is likely to lose it’s spot as the second-most popular global study abroad location to Australia, according to a new report by the Centre for Global Higher Education. There has been little increase in growth in the number of international students entering the UK since 2012, making the gap between the UK and other countries shrinking, widening the possibility for the UK to slip to third place.

The UK’s number two postion (behind the U.S.) showed that it was the leading attractor of European students. However, the study notes that conditions brought on by Brexit, such as European students having to pay full cost international student fees as opposed to UK fees and the lack of eligibility for tuition loans are predicted to result in a lack of interest. Australia, on the other hand, has seen an upward trend in interest that does not appear to be affected by the geopolitical climate that the U.S. and UK are facing.

Simon Marginson, the paper’s author, Director of the Centre for Global Higher Education and

Professor of International Higher Education at the UCL Institute of Education, also notes that Canada is likely to be a principal beneficiary of the slowdown in growth of international students entering the U.S.

Marginson said, “What we are seeing is a seismic shift in the global student market. 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.”

The three leading findings of the report that Marginson found were:

  1. The UK is the world’s leading nation in educating international students from Europe at tertiary level, but its leading position is about to be decimated by Brexit’s effect on tuition prices.
  2. It looks certain that Australia has now gone well past the UK in its numbers of international students from outside Europe, and this will be confirmed when the UNESCO data for 2016, 2017 and then 2018 become available.
  3. In terms of total international student numbers in tertiary education, Australia may have surpassed the UK in 2018, and if not will almost certainly do so in 2019. The UK will be number three.

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