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International Applications to UK Universities Hit Record High

So much for Brexit: latest figures show that the number of EU and international students applying for university places in the UK has increased to over 100,000 for the first time, a rise of almost 8% compared to last year. Image by Universities UK

The number of international applicants into UK universities rose by 11.1% to 58,450, the highest number on record.

Latest UCAS figures show that the number of applications by EU and international students for university places in the UK has increased to over 100,000 for the first time – this is a rise of almost 8% compared to last year.

UCAS (The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service) operates the application process for a large number of universities in the UK. Its figures show that the number of EU applicants increased by 3.4% to 43,510. Last year, the number of EU students applying to British universities fell by 7%, right after the Brexit vote results.

HESA figures show that over the past decade, non-EU international applicants rose the highest, by 70%, compared to EU students at 48% and UK students from outside the region at 24%. Chart from Cushman & Wakefield Student Accommodation Report 2018

Meanwhile, the number of international applicants rose by 11.1% to 58,450, which is the highest number on record. HESA figures show that over the past decade, non-EU international applicants rose the highest, by 70%, compared to EU students at 48% and UK students from outside the region at 24%. Amongst international students in the UK, the highest numbers come from China, Malaysia and Hong Kong. Latest statistics place China, Malaysia and the US as the top three foreign student nationalities in the UK.

One factor contributing to the increase in overall applications is the weaker pound. Since the UK voted to leave the EU on 23 June 2016, the pound had devalued sharply, falling by as much as 21% per cent against major currencies. This makes studying in the UK a more affordable option for foreign students seeking a British education, particularly those from countries with lower exchange rates compared to the sterling.

Amongst international students in the UK for the 20015- 2015 period, the highest numbers come from China, Malaysia and Hong Kong. Latest statistics place China, Malaysia and the US as the top three foreign student nationalities in the UK. Chart by Cushman & Wakefield Student Accommodation Report 2018.

An explanation for the rise in EU students, in particular, could be the reduced tuition fees that they currently qualify for. Prospective students could be making a last-ditch effort to secure places in a British university before the UK formally leaves the Union, and the subsequent increase in fees.

The Government had announced that EU students starting in this academic year would be entitled to reduced fees and funding support for the duration of their course, even after the UK leaves the Union. EU nationals who have resided in the UK for over five years are also able to apply for undergraduate maintenance support and postgraduate loans.

Ultimately, British universities continue to be world-renowned and sought-after for their quality education. The prestigious University of Oxford and Cambridge are ranked number one and two, respectively, in the Times World University Rankings 2018. A total of 31 British universities managed to rank in the top 200 worldwide.

Helen Thorne, Director of External Relations at UCAS, said: “The UK’s universities are highly popular with EU and international students because of the quality of the teaching and experience they offer.”

For quite some time now, university-managed accommodation in the UK have been unable to keep pace with student numbers, giving rise to privately-managed purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA). The popularity of PBSAs has also been boosted by a more discerning and affluent student population, which demand a higher standard of living than private landlords in the UK can provide. PBSAs are typically located close to universities and the city centre, and are well-equipped with a myriad of amenities.

This rapid increase of EU and international students, upon the backdrop of declining numbers of UK home students, will continue to fuel the need for commercial student property, granting investors a brilliant opportunity for investment in one of the UK’s top performing asset classes.

One up-and-coming PBSA development in the Liverpool city centre, Natex, is a impressive 566-unit student residential scheme, approximately 5 minutes walk from two of the UK’s top universities (University of Liverpool and Liverpool John Moores University). It offers a unique opportunity for commercial property investors with 9% nett rental returns assured for 5 years. Construction is poised to begin in Aug 2018, and completion is expected in Q3 2020.

By Ian Choong

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CSI Prop proudly promotes international investment property with high yields at low risk. Our portfolio comprises residential and purpose-built student property in cities across the United Kingdom (London, Luton, Manchester, Liverpool, Newcastle, York, Glasgow, Scotland; Sheffield, etc); Australia (Melbourne, Perth, Brisbane) and Thailand (Bangkok). Our projects are concentrated in high-growth areas with great educational, infrastructural and job growth potentials. We aspire to make a difference in the lives of our clients by helping them achieve their investment goals through strong market research backed by third party experts and due diligence. 

Disclaimer: CSI Prop does not provide tax & legal advice and accepts no liability. Readers are encouraged to consult a qualified tax or legal advisor for a thorough review.

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