Written by Joanna Hughes

New Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) figures reveal optimistic news about the number of foreign students in the UK: the overall number in the academic year 2017/18 grew. Here’s a closer look at the data, as reported by Financial Times

Increasing International Interest

Led by a surge of students coming to the UK from China, overall non-EU first-year international students increased to 185,415 in 2017-2018 -- a 7.6 percent jump from the previous academic year.

In addition to the 30 percent year-on-year spike in Chinese student enrollments, first-year enrollments from India not only saw a 10 percent bump, but also represented a reversal after years of waning numbers. 

At the same time, new enrollments from EU countries fell very slightly -- 1.2 percent -- following steady years of growth since the cap on students at English universities was removed in 2014. 

From Boom to Boon

This data also indicates a major financial boon to UK institutions, which can charge much more than their standard annual tuition fees to non-EU students.

However, the benefits of international mobility in higher education extend far beyond the monetary. The advantages include facilitating new perspectives, spurring scholarship and innovation through dynamic academic exchange, and building social and economic capacity in developing countries.

Joanna worked in higher education administration for many years at a leading research institution before becoming a full-time freelance writer. She lives in the beautiful White Mountains region of New Hampshire with her family.
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