View guides

Ucas Reports Decline in International Student Numbers

Posted by Richard Ward

Image courtesy of Flickr, Creative Commons

The latest figures from Ucas have revealed a drop in the number of international students accepted as undergraduates at UK universities, representing the first decline in five years.

Those accepted at UK universities from outside the EU fell by 2.3% to 38,300, the first fall since 2011. In contrast, the number of EU students accepted rose by 7% to 31,400 and remains in line with growth witnessed in recent years.

Many will now be looking towards the January university admission deadline to begin courses for the next academic year, as a guide to see how international and EU student figures hold up. Cambridge University recently reported a 17% drop in EU applications, with its application deadline earlier than most institutions.

Meanwhile, despite a decline in the overall population of 18 year olds, those accepted at university rose by 1.5% to 238,900, the highest number ever recorded. The Ucas report indicates young people's chances of entering higher education have increased by around 4% across the UK, reaching a record 32.5% in England.

The report also highlighted that the total number of students entering higher education in 2016 reached 535,200, an increase of 0.5% year-on-year and the highest number recorded. The total number of applications remained flat at 718,400.

Of concern to Ucas' Chief Executive, Mary Cunrock Cook was the apparent slowdown in the number of students entering university from disadvantaged backgrounds.

She said: "When she entered Downing Street in July, the Prime Minister pointed out that white working-class boys are the least likely to go to university. Our report underlines this point, showing that nearly three quarters of the group least likely to enter university are men, most are from lower income families, and nine out of ten are in the White ethnic group.

"Although the number of students from disadvantaged backgrounds entering higher education has reached record levels again this year, there are early signals that the good progress made in recent years may be slowing down. "