Chinese Applicants To UK Universities At All-Time High Despite Brexit Crisis

China Postgraduate Students
A student dressed for colder temperatures walks to class (Photo: Reuters)

According to official application data, there are now more students from China and Hong Kong applying to British Universities that those from other European countries. This year has seen a spike in new university applicants that have broken previous application records. The data came from the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS), who have recently released their report. The interest of Chinese undergraduates to go to British schools has apparently not been affected by the country's recent Brexit issue.

Data released by the UCAS following their January deadline has seen a rapid surge in international applicants.   International candidates for different British universities have increased by 9 percent, while local applicants have dropped by 1 percent.  The UK-based organization also revealed that this is actually the first time in three years that the number of international applicants has gone up.

Applicants from Mainland China and Hong Kong have risen to more than 21,000 this year. A rapid increase when compared to the 17,000 students from last year. Meanwhile, there were only 18,850 Welch students that applied to British Universities. If the trend continues, British universities may have more Chinese students enrolled that local students coming from their neighboring countries. The story is relatively the same when it comes to postgraduate students in a British university. According to the same report, around a third of the postgraduate students enrolled in British universities last year came from China and Hong Kong.

Heads of the different universities have fully welcomed the news as there were initial fears of lesser applicants this year due to the ongoing Brexit crisis. The Universities minister for England, Chris Skidmore, mentioned in an interview that he was very pleased with the news as it only proves that UK universities are still considered as a world-class destination for students around the globe.

Over the past few years, the different British universities have escalated their recruitment efforts in other parts of the world, which may be partly why there was a spike in applicants this year. Competition from academic destinations such as New Zealand has also pushed universities in the UK to try and get more applicants abroad.

Students from abroad generally pay a much higher tuition fee than students from Europe. They are also not eligible to get students loans from the UK government. Despite this, overseas applicants still continue to hold the British educational system in high regard. This year will also be the last chance for European students to apply for student loans from the UK government before Britain exits the European Union. 

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