UCL News


UCL now the second largest recruiter of international students

29 January 2014

The Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) recently published the student recruitment figures for UK 2012 entry, showing that UCL is now the second largest recruiter of international students.

HESA Statistics  

UCL has reached this milestone even though, for the first time since records began in 1994, the UK has seen a drop in the number of non-EU students coming to study here. 

UCL gradually climbed from 12th place in 2006/07 to third place behind Manchester and Nottingham, where we stayed for a couple of years. The 2012 data shows that UCL has moved up to second place, still behind Manchester.

We still hold this place when all international students including those from the EU are added to the figures.The number of non-EU student enrolments at most institutions in the Russell Group has grown, but UCL has had a stronger rate of growth than many of our competitors. 

The UCL International Office is now examining the data to see how recent changes to the international student recruitment environment are affecting our enrolments and those of our competitors.

The big story around the new data is how the numbers demonstrate the impact of government changes to visa regulations and in particular, the removal of the post-study work visa, which also happened in 2012. 

The changes hit certain markets hard, especially India, the number two market for the UK. The number of Indian students coming to the UK fell by 25% in 2012. In the past, Indian students have been a large demographic in business programmes across the UK. 

The absence of such programmes at UCL has shielded us from the worst of the decline although we have still been affected. However, our competitors have suffered more in this area and this is one reason why we have maintained higher growth. 

A university's reputation and its location are key attractions for prospective students. However, looking at the figures for UCL's nearest competitors, both in terms of standing as well as physical location, we can see recruitment and growth patterns that differ from ours. 

As such it is clear that these factors are not the only drivers when it comes to successful recruitment of students. Work continues in the UCL International Office to interpret the data and understand our strengths and also our weaknesses in an increasingly challenging recruitment environment. 

If you would like to collaborate with the International Office on international student recruitment matters, please contact Dr David Stevens, Head of the International Office.