The scale of UK higher education transnational education 2018-19: Scottish providers

9 December 2020

This report uses data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) to provide trend analysis of UK transnational education (TNE) delivered by Scottish providers.

This second edition of 'The scale of UK higher education transnational education: Scottish providers' provides a snapshot analysis of where, at what level and through what type of provision Scottish TNE students studied during the 2018−19 academic year. It also puts some of the figures into context, by providing a longitudinal overview of trends in TNE. 

Highlights of the report for Scotland’s higher education TNE provision in 2018 –19 include: 

  • 17 Scottish higher education providers reported students studying through TNE.  

  • 76.5% of Scottish providers reported more than 1,000 TNE students each.   

  • Scottish providers reported 42,625 students on TNE programmes, which is 12.7% of the total reported by UK providers.  

  • Scottish TNE student numbers increased by 1,235 students (3.0%) from 2017−18.   

  • Scottish TNE was reported in 183 countries and territories, more than ever before.  

  • Asia continued to host the largest proportion of Scottish providers’ TNE students (38.5%) in 2018−19, followed by the Middle East (22.4%), the European Union (12.1%), Africa (11.8%), North America (9.3%), non-EU Europe (4.2%), Australasia (1.5%) and South America (0.7%).  

  • Scottish providers reported that 55.3% of TNE students were studying at undergraduate level and 44.7% at postgraduate level.  

  • 37.8% of TNE students at Scottish providers were studying through collaborative provision, followed by 34.5% studying through distance, flexible and distributed learning, 17.1% registered at an overseas campus and 10.6% registered at an overseas partner organisation. 

Ulrike Peter, Senior Policy Officer (International), Universities Scotland said: 

These figures once again demonstrate that Scotland punches above its weight when it comes to TNE. TNE is of benefit to both our staff and students and our universities must continue to have an international outlook even in these challenging times.’ 




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