From education to employment

Rental guarantor data reveals shifting international student demographics at UK universities

students sat
  • Housing Hand points to India, Sub-Saharan Africa and the US as key growth areas
  • Number of Chinese students in UK is tipped to moderate
  • Shifting international student numbers are about more than Brexit alone

UK rental guarantor service Housing Hand has shared insights into the shifting demographics behind the number of international students choosing the UK for their higher education. Brexit, naturally, has had an impact on the number of students from the EU coming to the UK, with those students now having to pay the full rate to attend UK universities. But this is not the only factor at play, according to the Housing Hand team.

Graham Hayward, Chief Operating Officer, Housing Hand

“In addition to Brexit’s unsurprising impact on the balance between UK and EU students, we’re seeing countries’ domestic policies affecting the number of those studying in the UK. The number of students from China has moderated, for example, with many now choosing to stay home for their studies. UK universities that have established campuses in China, or that have been invited to do so, are feeding this trend too.”

Housing Hand’s latest figures show that, in terms of international students from outside the EU, it is India, Sub-Saharan Africa and the US that are the largest growth areas. And, while the demographics of those studying in the UK continue to shift, the overall number of non-EU international students remains high. This is reflected by 2022 migration figures from the Office for National Statistics, which show that, “levels of immigration from non-EU international students, and their dependents, remain high. This can be attributed to increased demand post-pandemic, as well as delayed travel, and may also be influenced by the new Graduate Visa route.”

Just as the Graduate Visa aims to tempt students to the UK, by allowing them to apply for work here after completing their studies, universities are also doing their part to appeal to students from overseas. In addition to the quality and range of courses on offer, many institutions are focusing on their pastoral care and accommodation offering.

James Maguire, Head of Sales and Business Development, Housing Hand

Increasingly, universities want to ensure their accommodation is accessible to all, including students who do not have a qualifying UK rent guarantor. By working with Housing Hand and tailoring our service to meet their needs, universities can alleviate this issue for their students.”

Housing Hand already works in partnership with many universities and student unions across the UK and Ireland, supporting students from overseas and those from within the UK to access their accommodation of choice while completing their studies. Further partnerships are currently under development.

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