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UK transnational student numbers rise as intakes at home fall

The number of students who were studying overseas for a UK higher education qualification rose last academic year as enrolments for courses delivered in Britain fell, new figures show.

There were 598,925 “transnational” students studying for UK qualifications in 2012-13 – 4.9 per cent more than in the previous year, according to data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency.

Almost half of these students were based in Asia, with Malaysia and Singapore accounting for almost a fifth. Nearly 60 per cent of them were registered with an overseas partner organisation, while just over a fifth were on a distance learning course offered by a British HE institution. Just 3 per cent were based at a UK university overseas branch campus.

However, HESA points out that 43.7 per cent of the students were registered on Oxford Brookes University Association of Chartered Certified Accountants programmes.

Meanwhile, the number of enrolments at HE institutions in the UK fell by 6.3 per cent, despite a 12.8 per cent rise in the number of international students from outside the European Union. The biggest drop was in the number of part-time postgraduate enrolments, down 15.1 per cent compared with 2011-12.

A report on the figures notes that the general decline across the sector at home in all modes and levels of study coincided with the rise in tuition fees.