The number of Indian students seeking admission in UK universities has increased marginally this year with 510 more students applying compared to the previous year, according to official figures released today. The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS), the UK-based organisation which manages a centralised application system for British universities, recorded 4,790 applications from India by the June 30 deadline for the coming academic year – this was up from 4,280 in 2016. The trend reflected an overall 2 per cent hike in overseas applications in 2017, which contrasts with a 4 per cent drop in UK-based students applying to university. In a clear indication of a Brexit effect on education, the number of European Union (EU) students planning to study in the UK fell by 5 per cent over last year.
“With the main application period at an end, the total numbers of people applying are down 25,000 on last year, around 4 per cent. “Within the figures, there are contrasting trends. The decrease in applicants is driven by falls from England, Wales and the EU, but applicants from other overseas countries are up 2 per cent,” said Dr Mark Corver, UCAS Director of Analysis and Research. “How these trends translate into students at university and colleges will become clear over the next six weeks as applicants get their results and secure their places, and new applicants apply direct to UCAS’ Clearing process,” he added. The figures for applications from overseas will come as some relief for those campaigning for a favourable visa regime for international students, including Indians.
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The Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA), the UK’s official agency for the collection, analysis and dissemination of quantitative information about higher education in the country, had revealed earlier this year that while Indians remain the third-largest category of students from outside the EU, they registered a decline of 9 per cent in 2015-16 over the previous year. Sarah Stevens, head of policy at the Russell Group – which represents Britain’s key universities, said: “It’s positive that applications from overseas students outside the EU have risen slightly. “International students bring social and cultural diversity to our campuses and this benefits all students, and they contribute 25.8 billion pounds to the UK economy.”
The other major area of concern highlighted by the latest UCAS data is a sharp decline in those applying to study nursing courses – down 19 per cent – and a continued fall in the number of mature students, notably in England and Northern Ireland.