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HESA data shows another year of growth in international student numbers

16 January 2020

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HESA data released today shows that there were 485,645 international students studying in the UK in 2018/19, a 5.9% increase on the previous year.


The data shows total student numbers for the UK's top ten sending countries in 2018/19:

  1. China (120,385, +13% since 17/18)
  2. India (26,685, +35% since 17/18)
  3. United States (20,120, +7% since 17/18)
  4. Hong Kong (Special Administrative Region of China) (16,135, -1% since 17/18)
  5. Malaysia (13,835, -8% since 17/18 )
  6. Italy (13,965, level with 17/18)
  7. France (13,675, level with 17/18)
  8. Germany (13,475, -1% since 17/18)
  9. Nigeria (10,645, +1% since 17/18)
  10. Greece (9,920, -2% since 17/18)


The number of new enrolments in 2019 for the top ten sending countries were as follows:

  1. China (86,485, +13% since 2017/18)
  2. India (17,760, +42% since 2017/18)
  3. United States (12,085, +4% since 2017/18)
  4. Hong Kong (Special Administrative Region of China) (6,925, +2% since 2017/18)
  5. Malaysia (5,940, -1% since 2017/18)
  6. Italy (5,930, -4% since 2017/18)
  7. France (6,645, -4% since 2017/18)
  8. Germany (7,115, level with 2017/18)
  9. Nigeria (5,485, +14% since 2017/18)
  10. Greece (4,770, -6% since 2017/18)   

Vivienne Stern, Director, Universities UK International, said:

"We're pleased to see that international student numbers continue to grow in the UK. A recent study revealed that international students are highly satisfied with their experiences at UK universities, as well as enjoying significant career benefits after graduating. The growth in the number of international students studying in the UK is testament to this world class offer.

The 42% growth in the number of new Indian student enrolments in 2018/19 is particularly notable. Visa application numbers indicate that this growth will continue, suggesting that Indian student numbers are set to reach numbers not seen since 2011 in the coming years.

We know that students in India, and around the world, will be encouraged by the announcement of a new two-year graduate visa route and we are working with government to ensure that this is implemented as quickly and smoothly as possible."  






Our team

Annie Bell

Communications Manager
Universities UK International

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