Friday 13 January 2017

Increasing Number Of Students Are From US And China Admitting INTO Scottish Universities


There is an incresing number of students from China and the United States going to university in Scotland is on the increase, new figures show.

There were 5,600 enrolments from China in 2015/16 after a two per cent increase while the number of American students starting courses rose by eight per cent to 2,105.

Overall, figures from the Higher Education Statistics Agency (Hesa) show the number of international students rose by three per cent to 29,980 bucking a UK-wide trend where numbers fell by one per cent.

The increase is important because universities increasingly rely on fees charged to overseas students to supplement their income from the public purse.

However, the number of students from Nigeria, Malaysia, Thailand, Hong Kong and Norway all fell in 2015/16 causing concern that the Westminster government’s plans for visa restrictions are putting off potential students.

Alastair Sim, director of Universities Scotland, which represents principals, said: “Our universities are competing with institutions across the world, many who have ambitious targets and are actively being supported by their governments, who recognise the importance and value of international students.

“The fact Scottish universities continued to attract international students at a time where the number of university-sponsored study visa applications fell is testament to the hard-earned world-class reputation of Scotland’s universities.

“There has been modest growth, but it’s much better in our competitor countries like the US and Australia and we should be aspiring to much better.”

Mr Sim said the impact of the Home Office’s “unhelpful approach” to international students could be seen with Indian student numbers down and Nigerian student numbers falling significantly.

He added: “We are also mindful that these numbers don’t reflect political developments that have played out over 2016. We know that Brexit is causing uncertainty amongst prospective students and the rhetoric towards international students has been less than welcoming.

“We don’t yet know what impact that will have on applications and the figures we will see in a year or two from now.”

The figures also show an increase in the number of Scottish full-time first degree entrants to Scottish higher education institutions with a 12 per cent increase since 2006/07.

The total number of enrolments at higher education institutes in Scotland was 235,565 in 2015/16, a one per cent increase from 2014/15 for both undergraduate and postgraduate enrolment.

Half of all first degree qualifiers were in science subjects, compared with 43 per cent for the UK as a whole.

Shirley-Anne Somerville, the Minister for Higher Education, said: “These figures show a really positive picture for Scotland’s higher education system.

“We not only have more Scots in higher education, but also gaining the qualifications they need to succeed and have worked hard to achieve – it’s a great success story.

“It is also extremely heartening to see enrolments in science increase and we must continue to encourage more young people – particularly young women - to choose a career in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.”

Across the UK, 24 per cent of graduates secured a first class honours degree compared to 17 per cent in 2011/12.



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