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Government Plans to Boost International Student Numbers

Posted by Richard Ward

Image courtesy of Flickr, Creative Commons

The Government has published a new International Education Strategy outlining plans to increase the number of international students studying in the UK by more than 30%.

It is hoped the move will boost the income generated by education exports to £35 billion by 2030, up from the current value of £20 billion.

The strategy sets out an ambitious target to increase the number of international students to 600,000 per year.

The plan involves not just retaining existing markets but raising the profile of the sector in global markets such as Asia, Africa and Latin America.

Commenting on the plan, Education Secretary, Damian Hinds, said: "The UK's education system is world-leading and its reputation is the envy of many countries around the globe."

"As we prepare to leave the EU it is more important than ever to reach out to our global partners and maximise the potential of our best assets - that includes our education offer and the international students this attracts."

"There is no limit to our potential and this strategy will help cement our status as a world-leader in education, while creating real benefits for the country and students across the globe."

The strategy includes measures to help the sector maximise the potential of UK education exports, including:

- Appointing a new International Education Champion to boost overseas activity by developing strong partnerships and tackling challenges across the world;

- Encouraging sector groups to bid into the £5 million GREAT Challenge Fund to promote the entire UK education offer internationally;

- Extending the period of post-study leave for international student visas, considering how the visa process could be improved for applicants and supporting student employment;

- Improving data on education exports to enhance and drive performance while also mapping out where the best opportunities lie globally; and

- Closer working across government departments on international education policy and opportunities.

The news will be welcomed by universities looking to increase revenue from higher paying international students, as well as PBSA operators that have traditionally targeted non-domestic students.