1 Dec 2021 UUKi publications
1 Dec 2021 UUKi publications
Last updated on Wednesday 20 Jul 2022 on 10:31am
International Facts and Figures is our annual snapshot of the international dimensions of UK higher education.
Please note that due to the amount of content, some elements on this page may be slower at loading.
All interactive charts on this page have been created using Flourish.studio.
This year’s report illustrates the unique context we are currently living in, and equally reminds us of the importance of international collaboration. The lasting impact of Covid-19 and the UK’s exit from the European Union is particularly evident in the outward student mobility data, with some students unable to complete their study abroad placements.
However, despite the immense challenges our sector has faced, 14,000 students were able to have a period of mobility during their degree in 2020-21. There are also many other positives, such as reaching the International Education Strategy target of 600,000 international students a decade early and an increase in international academic staff working at UK universities. Institutions continue to innovate and find new solutions. 162 UK universities delivered TNE in over 225 countries and territories worldwide, our highest reach yet. The UK also remains a popular collaborative partner for international research, with 60.4% of the UK’s research output having an international co-author.
The dedication and hard work from colleagues to deliver international activities in universities shows an enduring commitment to international higher education and we can see this success in the top facts and figures featured in this report.
Vivienne Stern MBE
Director, Universities UK International
In 2020-21, the UK welcomed 605,130 international students, reaching the 600,000 target (UK government International Education Strategy 2019/2021) almost a decade earlier than the 2030 deadline (HESA, 2022).
International students accounted for 22.0% of the total student population in 2020-21. 15.7% of all undergraduates and 39.1% of all postgraduates were international students (HESA, 2022).
The UK dropped to the third most popular study destination for international students in 2019 as Australia overtook the UK for the first time (UNESCO Institute for Statistics, 2021).
The total gross benefit of the 2018-19 cohort of international students to the UK economy was estimated at £28.8 billion. On average, international students made a £40m net economic contribution to the UK economy per parliamentary constituency. This is equivalent to £390 per member of the resident population (after all costs have been accounted for) (London Economics, 2021).
Note: the following section uses HESA data from the HESA data analytics service Heidi+. The HESA student record in Heidi+ omits students from alternative providers and institutions that restrict the use of their data in Heidi+. Consequently, analyses in the following section uses the Heidi+ total of 584,120 international students on full-time, part-time, and sandwich courses. According to HESA, the true total for international students on full-time, part-time, and sandwich courses in 2020-21 was 605,130 students.
Note: the UNESCO Institute for Statistics September 2021 release provides data on the period 2015 to 2019. UNESCO data used here focuses on the academic year 2019-20.
In 2019, Australia overtook the UK as the second most popular destination for international students. The UK's annual growth rate increased to 8.2% in 2019, after a period of slowed growth between 2014 and 2018. In contrast, the number of international students going to Australia grew year-on-year from 2014, allowing Australia to overtake the UK in 2019 (UUKi, 2021).
Canada and Australia remained the fastest-expanding English-speaking destinations, growing 24.3% and 14.5% respectively between 2018 and 2019. Canada was also the fastest-expanding destination globally. China, Japan, and Russia also grew their international student populations by 12.8%, 11.0%, and 7.8% respectively between 2018 and 2019 (UNESCO Institute for Statistics, 2021).
In 2020-21, most of the UK's international student population were based in England. 119,600 EU and 360,660 non-EU students pursued degrees full-time at universities in England. Since 2016-17, international student numbers have grown across the devolved nations (HESA, 2021).
In 2020–21, 148,115 EU students studied at UK higher education institutions. Of these, 70.5% were undergraduates, 19.9% were taught postgraduates and 8.6% were research postgraduates. Of the 436,005 non-EU students, 45.1% were undergraduates, 47.1% were taught postgraduates and 7.8% were research postgraduates (HESA, 2021).
In 2020-21, China, India, Nigeria, the US, and Hong Kong were the top sending countries for international students going to the UK. Chinese and Indian students made up 32.4% and 18.3% of all non-EU students at UK higher education institutions.
The fastest-growing sending countries were Nigeria (63.3%), Pakistan (62.1%), and India (51.8%). In 2020-21, Nigeria jumped to the third most popular domicile for international students after ranking 8/9th in the previous four years.
Within the EU, the top sending countries in 2020-21 were Italy, France, and Romania. The number of students from Italy and France grew marginally compared to 2019–20. Romanian students to the UK increased by 19.0% on 2019-20. The 2020-21 academic year was the last year in which EU students enjoyed home fee status and access to student finance. EU student applications submitted to UCAS for the 2021-22 academic year fell by 40% on the previous year (UCAS, 2021).
Student numbers from Malaysia and Germany have declined steadily over the past five years, dropping by 31.6% and 14.0% respectively between 2016-17 and 2020-21 (HESA, 2021).
Business and management, engineering and technology, and social sciences courses attracted the highest number of international students in both the 2019-20 and 2020-21 academic years. In 2020-21, international students accounted for 42.9% of business and management students and 39.5% of engineering and technology students, and 21.8% of social studies students.
International students accounted for approximately a third or more of total students in the following subjects: business and management, engineering and technology, computing, mathematical sciences, and architecture, building and planning.
Computing and subjects allied to medicine saw the largest growth in international students, growing by 29.7% and 19.9% respectively from 2019-20 to 2020-21 (HESA, 2021).
Note: this section covers the economic impact of international students in 2018-19 in line with the most recent available data.
International students bring economic benefits to the UK each year. In 2018–19, international students contributed around £28.8 billion to the UK economy, up from around £24.2 billion in 2015–16.
Of this £28.8 billion, approximately £22.7 billion came from non-EU students and £6.1 billion was generated by EU students.
The net impact to the UK economy per student was £71,000 for EU students and £102,000 for non-EU students.
The largest benefit was associated with fees (£15.0 billion), followed by non-fee income (£13.1 billion) and income from students’ visitors, such as family members and friends (£0.7 billion).
In 2015–16, non-tuition fee income from international students (£12.1 billion in 2018–19 prices) exceeded fee income (£11.5 billion associated with tuition fee income). The reverse occurred in 2018-19 where non-tuition fee income was £13.1 billion and fee income was £15.0 billion.
After considering the public costs associated with teaching grants and student support, the net economic impact of international students in the UK was £25.9 billion in 2018-19, up from 21.7 billion in 2015-16 (an increase of 19.4% in real terms) (London Economics, 2021).
 The 2015–16 figure has been converted to 2018–19 prices to allow for comparison.
In 2020-21, 71,475 international academic staff worked at UK higher education institutions, representing a third (32.1%) of academic staff. 53.5% of international staff were from the EU (HESA, 2021).
Note: HESA has not released data on non-academic staff for 2020-21. The following section examines international academic staff.
In 2020-21, the top five countries of nationalities for international academic staff were Italy, China, Germany, Ireland, and the United States. These countries have been the top five countries of origin for international academic staff since 2005-6.
Italian nationals have formed the largest group of international academic staff for the past five years. Italian academic staff fell marginally by 0.3% in 2020-1 for the first time since 2004-5, where the HESA record begins. Academic staff from Germany, Greece, France, the Netherlands, and Romania also decreased marginally between 2019-20 and 2020-21.
Over the last five years, international academic staff from Nigeria, Turkey, Pakistan, Iran, and India have grown the most.
In 2020-21, 81.4% of international academic staff in the UK were based in England. 26.5% of all international academic staff were based in London.
However, the number of international academic staff grew fastest in Scottish higher education institutes over the past five- and 10-years. International academic staff in Scotland grew by 42.2% between 2016-17 and 2020-21, and by 112.5% between 2011-12 and 2020-21.
In 2020-21, foreign nationals accounted for 32.1% of all academic staff. The subject areas with the highest proportion of international academic staff were engineering and technology (47.7%), biological, mathematical and physical sciences (40.2%), and administrative and business studies (38.9%). Engineering and technology attracted the highest proportion of non-EU staff (24.1%), while medicine, dentistry and health attracted the highest proportion of EU staff (21.8%) (HESA, 2021).
In 2020-21, the Covid-19 pandemic continued to impact international student mobility. Some students were able to carry out their work or study abroad placements. However, many higher education institutions cancelled their international mobility programmes and visits abroad due to the uncertainty around international travel that the dynamic situation of the pandemic created. Pre-pandemic, in 2018-19, 143 higher education institutions had students with one or more instances of mobility as part of their degree. In 2020-21, only 113 higher education institutions sent students abroad.
Consequently, the 2020-21 data shown in the following section does not truly represent the longitudinal trends in outbound student mobility across the sector. Before the Covid-19 pandemic, the number of mobility instances grew, increasing by 32.1% from 2015-16 to 2018-19. This demonstrates the excellent impact of UUKi’s 2017-20 Go International campaign.
Despite the international challenges, 14,000 students had a period of mobility during their degree in 2020-21. 0.5% of the total UK student population had a period of mobility during the 2020-21 academic year (HESA, 2021).
Note: some students have several instances of mobility as part of their course outside the UK. Consequently, in 2020-21, there were 14,000 students with a period of mobility and 15,915 instances of mobility.
Note: students who worked or studied remotely from the UK because they could not travel to their placement due to the coronavirus pandemic were still considered to be working/studying abroad for HESA reporting purposes. This was subject to the student studying/working with their intended host institution/employer and paying the same fee that would apply had the student gone abroad. For more information please see the HESA collection guidance.
The top three destinations for instances of mobility in 2020-21 were France, Spain, and Germany – together these countries received 28.4% of all mobilities from the UK.
Most destinations received fewer mobile students than before the pandemic.
Overall, 66.7% of instances of mobility in 2020-21 were for studying abroad, 29.1% were for working abroad, and 4.1% were for volunteering. Most mobility periods (67.7%) were long-term – that is, more than 14 weeks’ duration.
Note: this data predates the Turing scheme, which was not launched until the 2021-22 academic year.
Transnational education (TNE) is the delivery of an educational award in a country other than that in which the awarding body is based. It includes but is not limited to online and distance learning, joint and dual degree programmes, fly-in faculty for short courses, and international branch campuses.
In 2020–21, 162 UK universities delivered some form of TNE to 510,835 students in over 225 countries and territories worldwide. The UK is a world leader in this field (HESA, 2021).
Historically, Oxford Brookes University students accounted for over 40% of all UK TNE student numbers, due to a partnership with the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA). However, in 2019–20 Oxford Brookes University changed its reporting practices, resulting in a 256,450 reduction in the total number of students reported to HESA for the Aggregate Offshore Record (AOR) between 2018–19 and 2019–20.
To accurately reflect sector-wide trends over time, this section excludes Oxford Brooks University in analyses examining 2016-17 to 2020-21 but includes it in analyses examining 2019-20 and 2020-21.
Between 2019–20 and 2020–21, the total number of UK TNE students increased by 12.7%. Most students (67.2%) were studying for undergraduate degrees. Collaborative provision accounted for 39.1% of the global UK TNE student population, making it the most popular provision. TNE by other arrangements and registration at an overseas partner organisation saw the largest percentage growth out of all types of provision, up 22.1% and 17.6% respectively from 2019-20 (HESA, 2021).
In 2020-21, UK TNE delivery was concentrated in Asia. The region accounted for around half the total of UK higher education TNE students. This was followed by the EU, the Middle East and Africa. The top five host countries and territories for UK TNE in 2020-21 were China, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Singapore, and Egypt. The top five host territories accounted for 39.0% of all UK higher education TNE students.
In 2021, UK universities continued to excel in research, producing high-quality, globally collaborative research.
The UK produced the third-largest research output in the world – rivalled only by the US and China. Moreover, the UK boasts the largest share of internationally co-authored publications. 60.4% of the UK's research output was internationally co-authored in 2021 (SciVal, 2021).
The UK is a popular partner for research collaboration, ranking first for Ireland and Greece, and second for most of its top partners.
The UK receives an exceptionally large volume of research funding from abroad. EU funding, which forms over half of the UK’s international funding, decreased by 11.0% between 2018–19 and 2019-20. Non-EU funding has increased by 3.3% during the same period. (HESA, 2020)
Note: the following section uses 2019-20 data to discuss the UK’s research funding. We will update this section once HESA release their Finance Record for 2020-21 in July 2022.
In 2021, the top three countries by research output were China, the US, and the UK. China overtook the US as the top country by publication output in 2019 and continues to grow in this regard. In 2021, the UK retained its spot as the third-largest research output producer globally. However, the UK was closely followed by India with a difference of just 2,986 papers. India's research outputs grew the most out of the top 10 countries, increasing by 14.05% from 2019-20.
The proportion of internationally co-authored publications has increased over the past ten years and the UK has seen the largest growth. In 2011, 41.0% of UK publications had an international co-author. This proportion increased to 49.2% in 2016, and 60.4% in 2021.
The population of the United Kingdom represents 0.9% of the global population.
Between 2018-21, 3.9% of the world's publication authors were from the UK (SciVal, 2021).
In 2021, the UK produced 6.4% of the world's publications (SciVal, 2021).
In 2021, 9.3% of the UK's publications were in the top five percent of the world's most-cited publications (SciVal, 2021).
In 2021, the UK received 10.4% of the world's citations (SciVal, 2021).
157 higher education institutes made submissions to REF 2021. 84.0% were considered world-leading or internationally excellent. 87.2% had an impact that was world-leading or internationally excellent (REF, 2021).
The UK’s most frequent collaborative research partners between 2018-2021 were the US, China, and Germany, with 19.6%, 8.7% and 36.7% of publications respectively, featuring one or more UK co-authors.
Research collaborations with India and China have increased by 38.2% and 34.7% respectively since 2018.
The UK itself is a popular partner, ranking first for Ireland and Greece, second for most of its other partners, third for Australia, Canada, Switzerland, and Austria, and fourth for Japan.
In 2020-21 21.6% of UK research funding came from international sources. EU funding, which forms over half of the UK's international funding, decreased by 4.6% between 2019-20 and 2020-21. The net EU contribution to the UK from Horizon 2020 was 2,042 billion (13.31% of the total Horizon 2020 budget). The current uncertainty over the future of the UK's association to Horizon Europe is likely to impact funding in the years to come.
In 2020-21, international industry investment in UK university research and innovation fell by 9.5%. In the five years previous, international industry investment grew steadily, with total funding for 2019-20 up by 26.1% compared with 2015-16. While industry funding from outside the EU exceeds EU funding, EU industry investment exceeds its economic weight, accounting for around a sixth of the global economy but around a third of industry investment in UK university R&D. Moreover, EU industry investment grew more rapidly than non-EU investment before the 2020-21 decline, increasing by 49.9% between 2015-16 and 2019-20, compared with 15.0% for non-EU industry.
Source: Horizon 2020 dashboard; HESA Finance Record, 2020-21
In 2021, Earth and planetary sciences as a subject area had the largest share of publications with one or more UK co-author(s) (78.6%). Earth and planetary sciences' has been the top subject area for international collaboration since 2016.
Within the top 10 subject areas for internationally co-authored publications, pharmacology, toxicology, and pharmaceutics saw the most rapid year-on-year growth, with collaboration in this field increasing by 55.1%.
Arts and humanities publications ranked last out of the 27 subject areas for proportion of international co-authored publications. International co-authored publications made up just 26.9% of arts and humanities publications in 2021.
Africa was the fastest-growing market for student recruitment, sending 29.8% more students in 2020-21 compared to 2019-20.
Nigeria remained the top sending African country for students coming to the UK in 2020-21. Moreover, Nigeria was the fastest-growing market for students on the continent and third-fastest globally. The Nigerian student population in the UK grew by an astonishing 63.3% between 2019-20 and 2020-21. Student numbers from Ghana also grew significantly over the past academic year, increasing by 21.9%.
The number of African academics working at UK institutions increased by 8.81% between 2019-20 and 2020-21.
The growing importance of African research partners is shown by the substantial rise in the number of co-authored publications from the region, co-authored publications between the UK and African countries grew by 58.5% in 2018-2021. Nigeria, Ghana and Egypt saw the highest percentage growth in publications; however, South Africa remains the UK's main research partner in terms of the number of co-authored publications.
Despite decreasing between 2016-17 and 2018-19, UK TNE student numbers in Africa recovered and exceeded their 2016-17 total in 2020-21, reaching 56,475 students. Egypt remained the continent's largest TNE market with 23,805 students.
Mirroring other regions, UK outward mobility to Africa declined in 2020-21.
Total number of international students from Africa in the UK in 2020-21: 41,895 (up 29.8% on 2019-20)
Total number of international academic staff from Africa in the UK in 2020-21, 3.460 (up 8.81% on 2019-20).
Total number of students on UK higher education TNE in Africa, 2020-21: 56,475 (up 16.7% on 2019-20).
Main type of TNE provision: collaborative provision.
Total UK publications with an African co-author, between 2018-2021: 39,446 (growing 58.5% between 2018-21).
Asia remains a distinctly important market for student recruitment.
Students from China and India represented 32.4% and 18.3% of all non-EU enrolment respectively in 2020-21. Nevertheless, Pakistan was the region's fastest-growing market, increasing by 62.1% between 2019-20 and 2020-21.
The number of international staff from Asia grew by 5.29% in 2020-21. However, there was a small decrease in staff from Japan.
Research collaboration with Asia remains strong, with the number of co-authored publications in the region growing by 46.3% in 2018-2021. UK research collaboration with India and China was particularly notable, growing by 38.2% and 34.7% respectively in 2018-2021.
Asia continues to represent the largest market for UK TNE, with rising student numbers in China and Sri Lanka driving growth. In contrast, Malaysia saw a slight decrease of 1.9% in TNE student numbers compared to 2019-20. TNE student numbers in Singapore fell slightly in 2019-20, but stagnated in 2020-21.
Total number of international students from Asia in the UK in 2020-21: 304,260 (up 11.5% on 2019-20).
Total number of international academic staff from Asia in the UK in 2020-21:13,940 (5.29% since 2019-20).
Total number of students on UK higher education TNE in Asia, 2020-21: 252,845 (up 11.2% on 2019-20).
Main type of TNE provision: collaborative provision.
Total UK publications with an Asian co-author, between 2018-2021: 151,960 (growing 46.3% between 2018-20).
The number of TNE students in Australasia grew in 2020-21, increasing by 9.0% to 3,100 students. This is particularly significant given the year-on-year decrease in TNE students in the region between 2016-17 and 2018-19.
Australasian students represent the smallest regional cohort of international students. The number of students from Australasia decreased by 8.5% between 2019-20 and 2020-21. Students from Australia and New Zealand, the top two domiciles for Australasian students, fell by 8.7% and 4.7% for this period.
The total number of Australasian staff grew marginally in 2020-21. This was driven by staff from Australia, while the number of staff from New Zealand declined.
Research collaboration with Australasia remains strong. Australia is the UK's main research partner in the region in terms of number of co-authored publications, reaching 54,908 between 2018-2021.
Total number of international students from Australasia in the UK in 2020-21: 2,550 (down 8.5% on 2019-20).
Total number of international academic staff from Australasia in the UK in 2020-21: 1,940 (up 0.26% on 2019-20).
Total number of students on UK higher education TNE in Australasia, 2020-21: 3,100 (up 9.0% on 2019-20).
Main type of TNE provision: distance, flexible or distributed learning.
Total UK publications with an Australasian co-author, between 2018-2021: 83,129 (growing 20.0% between 2018-20).
The 2020-21 academic year was the last year in which EU students enjoyed home fee status and access to student finance.
The number of students from Europe increased marginally in 2020-21 (up 3.0%). Students from the top four major sending countries (Italy, France, Romania, and Spain) all increased compared to 2019-20. Between 2016-17 to 2019-20, Germany was one of the top three European sending countries. However, after declining steadily over the past five years, the UK's German student population continued to decrease in 2020-21, making Germany the 5th largest domicile for European students.
The number of European academic staff declined in 2020-21 (down 0.28%) for the first time since 2004-5.
Europe remains the UK’s second largest TNE market after Asia, with 96,500 students (up 8.8% since 2019-20). The number of TNE students in Cyprus fell by 12.1%, after falling by 1.4% in 2019-20. However, European TNE demonstrates a strong growth in demand among the other top destinations.
Total number of international students from Europe in the UK in 2020-21: 170,200 (up 3.0% on 2019-20).
Total number of international academic staff from Europe in the UK in 2020-21: 41,135 (down 0.28% on 2019-20).
Total number of students on UK higher education TNE in Europe, 2020-21: 96,500 (up 8.8% on 2019-20).
Main type of TNE provision: distance, flexible or distributed learning.
Total UK publications with a European co-author, between 2018-2021: 295,300 (growing 20.9% between 2018-20).
In the Middle East, trends in student recruitment from previous years continued in 2020-21.
Saudi Arabia continued to send the largest number of students to the UK, while the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait showed the strongest growth, with student numbers increasing by 17.8% and 13.9% respectively compared to 2019-20.
The number of academic staff from the Middle East grew in 2020-21, with staff from Iran representing over half of this group.
The region is an established TNE hub, behind only Asia in TNE student numbers. Despite the decrease in TNE students between 2016-17 and 2018-19, TNE students in the Middle East grew by 18.9% in 2020-21 to reach 70,400. While the United Arab Emirates and Oman were the largest markets for UK TNE, the most rapid growth of 64.5% was seen in Saudi Arabia. Kuwait and Bahrain also saw substantial growth, increasing by 45.6% and 25.5% respectively in 2020-21.
The Middle East is the fastest-expanding region in terms of research collaboration with the UK, with co-authored publications growing by 68.7% in 2018-2021.The primary research partner in the Middle East was Saudi Arabia, followed by Turkey by a difference of 81 publications. However, collaborations with the UAE increased the most, growing by 62.9% between 2018 and 2021.
Total number of international students from Middle East in the UK in 2020-21: 29,580 (7.5% since 2019-20).
Total number of international academic staff from Middle East in the UK in 2020-21: 2,465 (up 5.34% on 2019-20).
Total number of students on UK higher education TNE in Middle East, 2020-21: 70,400 (up 18.9% on 2019-20).
Main type of TNE provision: registered at an overseas partner organisation.
Total UK publications with a Middle Eastern co-author, between 2018-2021: 43,618 (growing 68.7% between 2018-21).
The number of international students from North America decreased by 6.5% in 2020-21 after falling by 0.8% the previous year.
Students from Bermuda remain consistent but the remaining five sending countries in the region all saw a decline in student numbers. The US - the region's majority sender - sent 18,470 students to the UK, down 7.4% from 2019-20. Students from Mexico and Trinidad and Tobago saw considerable decreases of 17.8% and 19.1% respectively.
The number of North American academics working at UK institutions increased marginally by 1.89% between 2019-20 and 2020-21.
Despite the fall in TNE students in the region between 2016-17 to 2018-19, North American TNE has recovered in the past two years and grew by 16.5% between 2019-20 and 2020-21. The United States continues to grow as the region's largest TNE market.
The UK has long-standing research relationships in North America, and the number of research collaborations continues to grow across the US, Canada and Mexico. The US remains the UK's top collaborative research partner worldwide at 146,197 co-authored publications.
Total number of international students from North America in the UK in 2020-21: 29,580 (down 6.5% on 2019-20).
Total number of international academic staff from North America in the UK in 2020-21: 6,995 (up 1.89% since 2019-20).
Total number of students on UK higher education TNE in North America, 2020-21: 27,010 (up 16.5% on 2019-20).
Main type of TNE provision: distance, flexible or distributed learning.
Total UK publications with a North American co-author, between 2018-2021: 174,080 (growing 19.9% between 2018-20).
The UK's South American student population is much smaller than other regions. This population has declined since 2017-18 and dropped by 12.4% in 2020-21.
However, South America remains the fastest-expanding region for TNE provision with TNE students in the region increasing by 21.9% between 2019-20 and 2020-21.
South America was also the fastest-expanding region for international staff in terms of growth. The number of South American academics working in UK higher education institutes grew by 12.36% in 2020-21.
South America also demonstrates strong research collaboration with the UK, particularly in Peru where the number of co-authored publications increased by 51.6% between 2018-21.
Total number of international students from South America in the UK in 2020-21: 4,520 (down 12.4% on 2019-20).
Total number of international academic staff from South America in the UK in 2020-21, 1,545 (12.36% since 2019-20).
Total number of students on UK higher education TNE in South America, 2020-21: 3,065 (up 21.9% on 2019-20).
Main type of TNE provision: distance, flexible or distributed learning.
Total UK publications with a South American co-author, between 2018-2021: 43,618 (growing 68.7% between 2018-21).
In 2020-21, there were 171 higher education institutions in the UK that returned data to the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA).
For further information on higher education institutions visit HESA’s website.
The HESA student record in HESA’s data analytics service Heidi+ omits students from alternative providers and institutions that restrict the use of their data in Heidi+. Consequently, we have used the Heidi+ total of 584,120 international students on full-time, part-time, and sandwich courses in our analyses. According to HESA, the true total for international students on full-time, part-time, and sandwich courses in 2020-21 was 605,130 students.
In 2019-20, Oxford Brookes University changed their reporting practices around which students they include in their aggregate offshore return. This resulted in a drop of 256,450 students between 2018-19 and 2019-20 for Oxford Brookes, resulting in a significant drop to the overall number of student enrolments based wholly overseas. Consequently, we have excluded Oxford Brookes University from analyses considering the years 2018-19 and before.
We have continued to disaggregate EU students in the data as in the relevant year they were still treated as home students.
HESA Student, Staff, Finance and Aggregate Offshore Records are a copyright of Higher Education Statistics Agency Limited. Neither the Higher Education Statistics Agency Limited nor HESA Services Limited can accept responsibility for any inferences or conclusions derived by third parties from data or other information obtained from Heidi+.
All HESA figures quoted in the publication that relate to student, staff, mobility and TNE numbers have been rounded to the nearest five in accordance with HESA data protection protocols. Unknown domiciles and nationalities were excluded from HESA figures and percentages.
All percentages have been calculated using raw figures and rounded, therefore rounded figures may not sum precisely and vary by figures of five Due to the nature of this publication, data is collated from several sources published on different dates. All data in this publication is correct as per the date it has been accessed.
A type of TNE provision. Applies to students registered at the reporting provider who are undertaking joint and dual degrees and/or franchised provision.
A type of TNE provision. Applies to students registered at the reporting provider who study for a UK higher education provider award via distance, flexible and/or distributed learning overseas. For example, programmes delivered online.
Higher education provider
Higher Education Statistics Agency
Some students have a number of mobility experiences as part of their course outside of the UK. These are counted separately and not aggregated together.
A publication on which a UK researcher has collaborated with at least one overseas institution.
The country of legal nationality of staff.
The net impact (benefits minus costs) is an estimate relating to the on- and off- campus spending of the 2015-16 cohort and their visitors over the entire course of their studies.
A type of TNE provision. Applies to students studying overseas for an award of the reporting provider in a manner not covered in other TNE types of provision. For example, via multiple UK or international partners delivering a programme, or through a combination of other types of provision.
A type of TNE provision. Applies to students registered at the reporting provider who study for a UK HEP award at an overseas campus.
A type of TNE provision. Students register with an overseas partner organisation in order to study overseas for an award of the reporting UK provider. The majority of teaching is delivered in-country; this arrangement includes validation and franchise arrangements.
A sandwich placement is a type of validated work experience, part of a degree course. It usually takes place in the penultimate year of a four-year degree.
SciVal is a research information tool that offers easy access to the research performance of 7,500 research institutions and 220 nations worldwide. Produced by Elsevier it uses bibliometric information from the Scopus database from 1996 onwards
London Economics, HEPI and UUKi, 2021: The costs and benefits of international higher education students to the UK Economy: https://londoneconomics.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/LE-HEPI-UUKi-Impact-of-intl-HE-students-on-the-UK-economy-Summary-Report-September-2021.pdf
HESA, 2022: Higher Education Student Statistics: UK, 2020/21 - Where students come from and go to study: https://www.hesa.ac.uk/news/25-01-2022/sb262-higher-education-student-statistics/location
HESA Aggregate Offshore record, 2020-21: Available at: https://www.hesa.ac.uk/collection/c19052
HESA Finance record, 2020-21: Available at: https://www.hesa.ac.uk/collection/c19031
HESA Student record FPE, 2020-21: Available at: https://www.hesa.ac.uk/collection/c19051
HESA Staff record FPE, 2020-21: Available at: https://www.hesa.ac.uk/collection/c19025
Horizon 2020 dashboard: Available at: H2020 Projects - Summary | Sheet - Qlik Sense (europa.eu)
SciVal, 2021: Available at: https://www.scival.com [Accessed April - September 2021]
UUKi, 2021: Why aren’t we second? Pt.2, available at: International student recruitment: Why aren't we second? Part 2 (universitiesuk.ac.uk)
UNESCO Institute of Statistics, 2021: Education- Outbound internationally mobile students by host region. Available at http://data.uis.unesco.org/