UK and US no longer as popular with foreign students due to Brexit and Trump effect

by Ray Clancy on January 24, 2017

European students no longer see the UK as the most attractive English speaking country to study with countries like Canada and Australia moving higher up the wish list, several new pieces of research suggests.

Brexit could be to blame, according to a study from UK based Red Brick Research which found that Canada tops the wish list with Britain pushed into second place, Australia third, the US fourth and New Zealand in fifth place.

expat-brexitSeparate research shows that Australia has the highest percentage of international students with 26% globally. The report from Savills into student housing also showed that European institutions are increasingly trying to attract more foreign students and many are now offering courses in English to make themselves more attractive.

English is still regarded as the most important language in the international business world and with prospective employers who work globally so more and more students are looking to study using the language.

The UK is still popular with students from outside of the EU and the election of Donald Trump as the new President of the United States has had a Brexit style effect with potential students put off by his stance on immigration.

While 64% of international students said that Brexit has made the UK a less desirable place to study some 73% said that the election of Trump has made the US less attractive.

There is also the issue of university fees. EU students currently pay less for their studies than those from outside of the EU, but Brexit could mean they will pay more and 62% said they would definitely not choose the UK if they had to pay the same tuition fees as non-EU students.

Also, some 59% said they believe that international students are less welcome in the UK following the Brexit vote, while 74% said that they think graduates from overseas are less welcome to stay in the country.

The Netherlands has been leading the way in offering courses in English with 7.2% enrolled in English taught courses and in Denmark it is 12.4%. Whereas Germany has just 1% on English taught studies.

With considerably lower living costs than their counterparts in the US, UK and Australia, and many universities appearing in top global rankings, European institutions are a very attractive proposition for international students.

Cost of living is another issue for international students and both pieces of research suggest that the fall in the Pound in the UK makes it cheaper for foreign students and this may well also have an effect on decision making.

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