Number of Int’l Students in Russia Increased in 2022 Despite Its Diplomatic Isolation Over Ukraine War

Russia Asia International Studies Higher Education News Statistics by Erudera News Oct 12, 2023

Red Square in Moscow, Russia

After invading Ukraine on February 24, 2022, Russia became an isolated country from the international community. However, despite being diplomatically isolated, it continued to be a popular destination for international students.

Government data indicate that during 2022, the number of international students in Russia reached 351,500, which is an eight percent increase from the previous year, reports.

That also means Russia has achieved its target of attracting 310,000 international students by 2020. The new goal of Russia’s government is to host 710,000 international students by 2025.

Most international students hail from countries that were part of the Soviet Union or from Asia or Africa. The largest source of students in Russia as of early 2023 is Kazakhstan, with over 62,000 students, followed by China with less than 40,000.

Other top countries from where international students in Russia come from include Belarus, India, Egypt, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and Tajikistan.

Russia's International Student Enrollment Trends_ A Look at 2019-2022 (1)

Previously, the Ministry of Education and Science of Russia announced it would increase the international student quota from 17,000 to 30,000 places by 2023. International students admitted through the quota program can study in Russia without being required to pay tuition fees.

Russia is generally considered a budget-friendly destination for international students, with affordable tuition and living costs.

“The number of places allocated to foreign citizens for training under the quota of the Government of the Russian Federation will be increased by five thousand places in 2022 and will amount to 23 thousand places, and in 2023 30 thousand places,” the Ministry of Education said in a statement.

The same revealed that in 2021, the annual quota for international students did not surpass 18,000 study slots. That year, the majority of applications were submitted by students from China, Vietnam, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Afghanistan.

“Most often, students from Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, and Kyrgyzstan are interested in studying under quotas of the Government of the Russian Federation at RUDN University,” Oleg Yastrebov, rector of the Peoples' Friendship University of Russia (RUDN).

The largest number of students attend the following universities in Russia:

  • Peoples' Friendship University of Russia
  • Kazan Federal University
  • Moscow Financial and Industrial University "Synergy"
  • Peter the Great St. Petersburg Polytechnic University
  • Moscow State University. M.V. Lomonosov
  • St. Petersburg State University

Earlier this year, iStories investigative outlet released the results of a survey conducted by the Russian state, which showed that one in every three students want to leave Russia. Moreover, 44 percent said the situation in Russia is a “crisis,” and 32 percent described it as a “collapse.”

© Vitali Adutskevich | Unsplash

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