Decline in International Students Could Threaten UK Media Courses, New Report Warns

United Kingdom Europe International Studies Higher Education News by Erudera News Jun 12, 2024

media course

Courses on media studies at UK higher education institutions will be at risk if the number of international students in the country falls, research by the British Academy has found.

According to this report published by the academy on June 11, more than half (54 percent) of postgraduate students pursuing media studies in the United Kingdom are from outside the UK. Nearly four-fifths of universities in the UK offer courses in the field, Erudera.com reports.

Data indicate the number of non-EU students studying Media, Screen, Journalism and Communication has increased by 106 percent since 2012. On the other hand, the number of students from the EU sharply decreased in the 2021/22 academic year - a 32 percent drop in postgraduate studies and a 28 percent drop in undergraduate levels.

“This should be seen as a cautionary tale to the sector as EU domiciled student numbers are a smaller proportion, paid lower fees than non-EU domiciled students, and, to an extent, the shortfall has been made up by increased non-EU domiciled students. A downturn in non-EU domiciled students would have a more severe financial impact,” the report warns.

UK higher education institutions saw a 7 percent increase in undergraduate students in media studies over a six-year period, specifically between 2012 and 2018. It further notes this was followed by a 2 percent decline between 2019 and 2021.

“This contrasts with postgraduate taught student numbers in the field, which have increased by 72 percent between 2012 and 2021. Over the same period, postgraduate research student numbers grew by 31 percent,” the British Academy points out.

Within subjects making up the field, the number of undergraduate students in media studies increased by 5 percent between 2019 and 2021. Differently, in cinematics and photography, undergraduate enrollment is down 5 percent.

Earlier this year, the UK government announced new restrictions, which, among other things, prevent international students from bringing their dependents to the UK unless they are enrolled in a postgraduate research program or hold government-sponsored scholarships.

These restrictions on international students may have led to a drop in students. According to a poll of 75 institutions by the British Universities’ International Liaison Association, nine out of 10 institutions received fewer applications from international students for the upcoming academic year.

Last month, the government decided to keep the graduate route, which allows international students to stay in the UK for at least two years after graduation and find jobs. However, it emphasized that it would also take new steps to ensure the UK’s higher education is used solely for education and not as a pathway to immigration.

© Will Francis | Unsplash

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