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UK Foreign Student Numbers Double

New figures released by Universities UK show that the number of overseas students coming to study in the UK has more than doubled in the last ten years. Whilst EU student numbers have increased by a third, non-EU students have gone up by a huge 121% since 2000.

The study- Patterns and Trends in UK Higher Education, reveals that there were 280,760 non-EU students and 125,045 EU students studying in the UK last year. Both of these represent huge increases and indeed, the report emphasises that "one of the main trends over the last 10 years has been the success of UK higher education institutions in attracting international students".

However, despite these increases, the figures show that EU students still make up just 5% of the total students in the UK, whilst non-EU students account for just over 11% of the total 2.5 million students taught in the UK each year.

Country by Country

In terms of individual countries, China remains the biggest sender of undergraduate students with over 29,000 students in the UK. To put that in context, that is three times as many as its closest rival- Malaysia which send less than 10,000. However, when looking at postgraduate instead, there is a very different picture.

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Huge Increases in Foreign Student Numbers

On the same day that new figures revealed huge increases in international student numbers in the UK, a leading figure in Higher Education warned that politicians cannot be complacent.

Yesterday, the higher education statistics organisation HESA, released the figures for the number of non-UK students studying in Britain over the last five years. The results were startling. Between 2005 and 2010, the number of foreign undergraduate students increased by 27%, whilst non-UK postgraduates increased by a massive 37%. In comparison, UK based student numbers increased by just 5% at undergraduate level, and by less than 9% at postgraduate.

These figures show the extent to which UK universities have increased their intake of overseas students more and more each year. Due mainly to the added financial benefits that international students bring, almost every university in Britain has made a concerted drive to recruit more during the last few years.

"Redouble our Efforts"

However, there are question marks over whether this pattern will continue after visa restrictions and increased fees are implemented next year. With plans to restrict post-study work visas for foreign students, as well as the increased fees that EU students will have to start paying, leading figures are anxious about the future of international students in the UK.

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