UK varsities now more affordable for Indians

July 2016 jpg

Did you know that studying at a British university now has become more affordable to you than it was a month ago? Since many years, the UK has remained one of the top preferred higher education destinations for many aspiring Indian students. I remember frequenting the British Council in New Delhi as a high school student many years ago, in search of gathering more information about British universities, scholarship programmes and so on and so forth. In the English speaking world, Britain was not the only country with prestigious universities, but to be honest, no other name stuck a chord like Oxford and Cambridge, which remained the aspiration for many.

Official historical data on student numbers indicates that India has continued to be among the top 10 origin countries of students enrolled in British universities. During recent years, however, the number of higher education students coming to UK has declined. According to the UK-based Higher Education Statistics Authority, the number of Indian student numbers in 2014-15 were 46% lower than in 2008-9. Falling rupee combined with stricter visa rules and fewer post study work options for students have been cited as some of the main reasons for this shift. Recent turn of political events in the UK might make UK financially attractive to Indian students once again.

Brexit vote and the plummeting pound
In a historical vote held on 23 June 2015, a majority of the British public voted to leave the European Union, a membership of nearly 28 member states that the UK has enjoyed for over forty years. The results that were announced on the day following the election, shocked politicians and people not just in the UK but across the world as most had hoped for an outcome to remain in the EU. The ‘leave’ vote also hurt the value of the pound, plummeting it to a seven year low. Within a day, the value of the pound dropped from Rs 100 to Rs 88, a 12 per cent decline.

While the impact of Britain’s exit from the EU, or so called Brexit, on UK’s economy and future prospects remains uncertain at this moment, one thing is clear. The drop in pound value in the short term can be a boon for aspiring students wishing to study in the UK as they now have to pay fewer Indian rupees compared to what they would have paid a month ago. They would also have to spend less in rupee terms on their living expenses. For instance, for a one year Masters course at a London based university one would have to pay nearly £22,000 towards tuition fee and £12,000 on living expenses, a total of £34,000. Prior to Brexit vote, this would have meant spending roughly 34 lakh rupees. At today’s exchange rate, this amounts to nearly 30 lakh rupees. Applications for most courses are closed by this time of the year but it might be worth keeping an eye on the admission sites of your top choice universities.



Chinese higher education students drive non-EU enrolments since 2010

I am quite excited as my research briefing about the impact of non-EU higher education students on UK’s economy was published today by Oxford based The Migration Observatory. International higher education students make economic and other less quantifiable contributions such as producing research output. I analysed previously published studies and HESA data to identify incoming student trends over the years.

Key findings:

  • The number of non-EU students enrolled in higher education in the UK more than tripled between 1994-95 and 2014-15, from 98,000 to 312,000.
  • Growth in non-EU student enrolments since 2010 has been driven primarily by Chinese students, while the number of Indian students has decreased.
  • Growth in non-EU student enrolments since 2010 has been driven primarily by Chinese students, while the number of Indian students has decreased.
  • Non-EU students generated up to £7.2 billion per year in export revenues in the 2011-2012 period, although estimates vary. Tuition fee income from non-EU students has grown over the past decade and made up over 12.7% of the total income of UK HE providers in the 2014-15 academic year.
  • Limited available evidence suggests that non-EEA students are likely to make lower-than-average use of public services like health and education; there is less evidence on their impacts on transport congestion, the housing market and labour market.

Full briefing can be found here