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British Universities Turning into Global Brands

Posted by Richard Ward in ,

Image courtesy of Flickr, Creative Commons

A report by HE Global published earlier this year found that there are only 15 countries in the world where the UK does not offer higher education services.

Britain's universities have continued to capture the global higher education market and higher education has now become a major British export industry.

Nottingham was the first university to launch an overseas branch back in the year 2000, based in Malaysia and has since opened a site in Ningbo, China. Other universities have followed suit, ensuring that many UK universities have become global brands offering degrees to students around the world.

With intense competition to grab lucrative international students, many institutions realised there was a market for UK degrees in the students' home countries as well.

During the 2013/14 academic year there were a reported 382,160 students involved in transnational education with UK universities, an increase of 13.4% from just two years before.

According to John Quirk, director of the international office at Nottingham University, there are several reasons why universities have been so quick to expand overseas. Firstly, it allows the institution to gain a global footprint and helps promote "academic endeavour and the cross-fertilisation of ideas" and secondly there are financial incentives.

In addition, an international presence is regarding as a sign of quality. British universities that recruit international students are seen as more diverse, and thus regarded more highly.

The trend of increasing international and European students studying in the UK has been reflected in the latest Ucas Clearing figures.

As of Aug-23rd, five days after A level results day, the number of EU applicants placed at higher education intuitions has increased 10% compared to the equivalent period a year earlier, to 28,600. Meanwhile international student numbers have risen 0.5% year-on-year to 32,270.