April 02, 2014

It was revealed today that the number of overseas students taking up places at England's universities decreased by 4,595 in one year - the first fall in 29 years. International and EU student numbers fell from 311,800 in 2011-12 to 307,205 in 2012-13, the Higher Education Funding Council for England reports. There was a notable decline in the number of entrants from South Asia, particularly India and Pakistan, at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels.

Hobsons are higher education specialists that work in partnership with institutions, delivering technology and services to engage and support students. Hobsons works with a range of institutions throughout the UK, helping them to attract and service international students.

Hobsons’ Director, Client and External Relations, Duncan Findlater, said:
We’ve seen a decline in international enquires to a number of our UK university partners over the past two years.  This is now being borne out in the number of students ultimately coming to the UK.  It is critical to recognise that this trend will be felt long into the future unless we fix our perception problem. We know that many international students select the country and the institution they choose on the basis of friend and family referrals.  Less people coming to study now means a knock on effect in the future when it comes to word-of-mouth recommendations.”

“Hobsons research, to be published next month, shows that perceptions about how welcoming a country is to international students are vitally important to attracting the best and the brightest.  It is on all of us to make sure we manage the message that we want to be heard; that Britain’s universities really are open for business.”

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