by Finn McRedmond
Friday, 15
July 2022
News
07:00

More Chinese applicants than Europeans to UK universities

New UCAS figures show a threefold increase in Chinese applicants from 2013
by Finn McRedmond
Chinese students show support for Xi Jinping in Manchester. Credit: Getty

More students from China applied to study at UK universities this year than the sum total of students from the European Union countries combined.

New figures published by UCAS show a record breaking 31,400 Chinese students have applied to British universities, marking a 193% increase from 2013.

In 2022 there have been more Chinese applicants than European

Despite the Covid pandemic and the strict regime of lockdowns in China, the upward trend of Chinese applicants over the past decade has only continued. Chinese students are particularly attracted to the UK’s high-ranking universities in worldwide league tables, says Director of the Higher Education Policy Institute Nick Hillman. English language tuition and the growth of the Chinese middle class over the past 20 years have had an impact too.

But these figures are likely to cause disquiet as concerns mount about the UK’s reliance on fees from Chinese students. Were the relationship between the UK and China to seriously sour “a very chill wind would blow through Britain’s universities” says Hillman, “especially prestigious ones.”

Earlier this week at a conference in Australia, Vivienne Stern, head of Universities UK International, said: “We would be failing ourselves if we didn’t consider the particular challenges posed by the potential deterioration in the relationship with China.”

In contrast, applicants from the EU have nearly halved in the past two years. This year, 23,160 students made applications to UK universities, a 93.1% decrease from 2020.

The trend can mostly be explained by Brexit. While Britain was a member of the EU, students from the bloc were entitled to tuition loans and the same fees as British students. Since August 2021, European students have faced the same higher fees as all international students and cannot access tuition loans.

UK universities may now look to other large foreign markets to broaden their income streams. India supplied 11,880 applicants this year, making it the largest source nation of applicants after the EU and China. Another fast-growing market is Nigeria, whose applicants increased by 58% from last year.

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Arkadian X
Arkadian X
28 days ago

What would the cash benefit of having European students be if they didn’t bring… the cash? They would have been the same as indigenous ones, so at the very least they shouldn’t be included in the statistic shown here.

Last edited 28 days ago by Andrea X
D Glover
D Glover
28 days ago
Reply to  Arkadian X

If European students went home after graduating how would we ever recover student loans from them? You can’t tax an income that they earn back home, or in a third country.

polidori redux
polidori redux
27 days ago

How about concentrating on educating our own children? Not very “globalist” I know, but just a thought.

Marco Furlano
Marco Furlano
28 days ago

Don’t forget to mention that Chinese students come from the very People’s Republic of China, willing to pay high fees for the benefit of UK universities and maybe loyal to their benevolent communist party. Not these pesky European elite students from decadent continental European democracies who wanted to profit from lower fees.

Jeff Cunningham
Jeff Cunningham
27 days ago

I wonder if it had something to do with the American universities all blowing themselves up?