How UK higher education institutions are attracting international students

With a strong history of attracting international students to the UK to study, the education team at Real Staffing have seen a rise in UK university competition to provide the best student experience for international students. With the UK’s potential departure from the EU, we take a look at which institutions are on the frontline of innovation within the sector.

International students in the UK

Historically, the UK was the second most popular location for international students wanting to study in higher education. Due to the size of the country, the United States has always taken the top spot. However, Australia has recently overtaken the UK’s position, which has led to UK institutions further developing their offering for international students.

Real Staffing’s education team have seen a common trend in international students preferring a degree from a UK institution, which has increased competition between UK institutions to attract international students.

International students are more valuable than ever to UK universities. With Brexit on the horizon, this could impact EU students who currently pay the same fees as UK students. If EU students are categorised as international students this could cause an increase in fees. This could then potentially put EU students off coming to the UK and lead to a decrease in applications. This would mean that UK universities would have to strengthen their offering and experience to retain their required number of students.

Which institutions have led this competition?

Real Staffing’s education team have witnessed a growing trend in UK institutions setting up facilities abroad. For many international students, their main priority is to achieve a degree from a UK university. In a number of cases, we’ve seen universities such as the University of London set up affiliated universities in other countries. After meeting with the University of London, Real Staffing’s education team found that a large majority of their international students study in sites outside of the UK. This provides an attractive opportunity for international students who can still study relatively closer to their home country.

Another benefit to this approach is that the university can still receive the same level of funding without the costly move for students to relocate to an expensive city like London. This method proves to be attractive to a higher number of students.

Much like the University of London’s approach, Nottingham University have partnered with established institutions in Asia to provide a similar experience for students. By only having to relocate to the closest institution to a student’s home, we’ve seen a rise in attracting international students by providing the ability to work in a UK-owned university site in a multitude of Asian countries.

Recently, a number of Real Staffing’s education placements have been for UK Visa compliance professionals, which highlights institutions are clearly trying to provide a better service for international students. By having specialists who can help in the application process, it’s giving universities the ability to offer a more supportive service. This support has created a more attractive offering for international students. Rebecca Darmody from Real Staffing’s education team explains, "Having recently placed a UKVI Tier 4 adviser in a major London university in order to advise on current processes, we have an awareness as an agency of the importance of the consultants’ work in this field and factor this awareness into our own service which we currently offer to over 80% of institutions nationwide".

How can Real Staffing help support UK institutions?

UK institutions that are leading the way offer the best quality Virtual Learning Environments (VLE). Living in the digital age, it’s easy for students to utilise A.I and virtual reality to create an intuitive learning experience from home. Universities that apply this technology have an improved advantage when competing for students outside of the UK. The reduced costs in building space may also mean that budgets can be spent on improving courses and delivering a higher quality of education.

We’ve helped place some of the most innovative IT leaders in this sector to improve student experiences and provide more value in VLEs. Get in touch with our education team if you’re looking for advice on how we can help develop your strategies for attracting international students.

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