UK Universities See Drop in Applications From China, Uptick in Nigerian and Indian Applicants

The United Kingdom

While the number of Nigerian and Indian students applying for undergraduate courses at UK universities has increased, applications from China have dropped by 4.2 percent, Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS), UK’s shared admissions service for higher education, has announced.

According to new UCAS data, overall, the number of international student applications to UK universities via UCAS has increased by three percent. This growth is driven by applications from Nigeria, India, and the United States, reports.

The largest increase (23.1 percent) was recorded in the number of Nigerian applicants, followed by a 9.8 percent increase in US applicants and a 5.4 percent rise in applications from India.

Commenting on the results, UCAS Chief Executive Clare Marchant said that there was an unprecedented demand from students to apply to undergraduate courses at UK universities; thus, a slight change in the number of applicants might be expected, particularly in the nursing and healthcare field for which the demand was high because students consider these professions crucial, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Over the past five years, the number of UK 18-year-old applicants has risen by 17.4% and we anticipate this upward trajectory will continue over the remainder of the decade, based on a rising 18-year-old population and the continued global attraction of UK higher education,” Marchant said.

Marchant also highlighted that the UCAS study found that the cost of living in the UK has an impact on the decision when choosing a subject, making the latter re-evaluate their choice based on “value and future career prospects". She added there was an increase in demand for subjects which students consider good for their future careers, such as computing and law.

UCAS also revealed that the number of 18-year-olds applying to UK universities is “the second highest on record.” The total number of applicants is 314,660, a decrease from 320,420 last year but an increase from 275,300 applicants in January 2020 before the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This is mirrored in the number of total applicants (all ages, all domiciles) compared to last year - 596,590 this year, down from 610,720 in 2022 (-2.3%) but higher than 568,330 in 2020 (+5.0%),” UCAS explains in a press release issued on February 9, 2023.

As per students from the European Union, figures from Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) have shown that the number of students has dropped by more than half since the UK withdrawal from the EU in 2020, recording a 53 percent decrease in the first-year EU-domiciled enrollments in 2021/22.

In total, 120,140 students from the European Union attended UK universities in the 2021/22 academic year.

>> UK Govt Considering Plans to Extend International Students’ Working Hours

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