To all higher education institutions in the UK: Find out more and get involved in our 2020/21 study on the international student customer journey

International student choice and decision-making

The 2020/21 academic year isn’t like any before, however there is something to look forward to.

We are running, for the 7th time, our annual survey among new international students studying at UK Higher Education Institutions, with the ongoing support of the British Council and the GREAT/Study UK campaign. This survey explores the student customer journey, decision-making process and the UK’s perceived competitive strengths and weaknesses as a study destination. We had very good engagement from the sector in previous years, with up to 4,500 respondents from 70+ universities.

We very much appreciate the ongoing support from UK universities. We will be in touch directly in regards to the new wave of the research with institutions where we have direct contacts. If your institution has not participated in previous years or you wish to find out more about the research directly, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Each participating institution will receive a free summary report with opportunity for further in-depth analysis (e.g. by institution, citizenship), subject to response rates.

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The experience of the Covid-19 pandemic among international students in the UK: New original research highlights key challenges for the UK and the HE sector

As Covid-19 spread in the UK and lockdown was introduced, we ran a survey among international students currently studying with a UK HEI who had started their course in the 2018/19 or 2019/20 academic year

Key themes covered by the survey included the:

  • International student experience of lockdown
  • Perceptions of how individual HEIs responded to the situation
  • Perceptions of how the UK responded to the situation
  • Impact on students’ perceptions of the UK and its HE offer internationally

This new report uses the original research as a springboard to explore the consequences for the UK sector of the Covid-19 pandemic.

With the Covid-19 pandemic spreading around the globe in the first half of 2020, approximately 2.5m students enrolled in UK Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) found themselves in a situation which neither they nor their host institution had ever faced before.

Half a million of these were international students; overwhelmingly young people in their 20s experiencing this unprecedented situation in a country that is not their own and often far from family, friends and support networks.

Understandably, many UK HEIs have a short-term concern about whether a new generation of international students will be willing/able to enrol in 2020/2021 if the pandemic continues.

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Rebound in student applications from China: A Blessing or a curse for UK HEIs?

Since China alone accounts for more than 30% of all international Higher Education students in the UK, it is not surprising that the recent economic slowdown in China  has caused consternation in many UK HEIs. The prospect of student demand from China suddenly drying up has understandably struck fear into the heart of many a financially challenged Vice Chancellor. The business models of whole university departments and in some cases near enough whole institutions are predicated on future growth in demand from China continuing at more or less the same heady rates as seen over the last ten years.

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