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International student data: January intake and September pipeline

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UniQuest international student data: January intake and September pipeline 

The following analysis is based on the most recent data from across a sample of seven UniQuest higher education partners in the UK, focusing on the top 12 international markets.* It compares data from December 2022 to December 2021.

A snapshot of the January intake:

  • Demand was very high, with applications increasing by 89% year-on-year for January starts.
  • India and Nigeria were the dominant applicant markets.
  • India still providing the biggest volume of enrolled students – over 30% more than Nigeria for the January intake.

What is it looking like for September?

  • There’s no negative feedback from Chinese offer holders about Covid testing rules, suggesting opportunities to rebuild the market.
  • There’s a 64% increase in offer holders year-on-year – driven in part by deferrals from January.
  • India and Nigeria remain the biggest markets but we are seeing growth amongst others, notably Iran (with a 128% year-on-year increase), Ghana (110%), Pakistan (83%) and Sri Lanka (176%).
  • Firm acceptances have risen by 25% compared to the same point last year, but again, this is being skewed by deferrals from the January intake.

What are students saying?

  • FAQ themes mainly related to questions about deferrals, admissions (with students confirming timescales) and finance (mostly confirming fees for September).
  • The number one negative sentiment from both India and Nigeria was admissions related.

Jenni Parsons, Director of Partnerships, Projects and Insights at UniQuest, comments:

“It’s still early days for the September 2023 intake, but there are a number of things to be positive about at this stage. In particular, there’s a real opportunity to rebuild the Chinese market after a couple of years of decline. Despite the Covid testing programme for people arriving to the UK from China, our FAQ data shows that Chinese applicants don’t appear to be put off. Questions relate more to “how”, “where” and “when”, rather than “why”. Youth unemployment at home may also be contributing to growing demand from Chinese students. 

“Of course, financial and political challenges carry into 2023 for some markets, which may well impact enrolments once again. We’ll be tracking the data monthly to see how that plays out.” 

*The 12 markets are: India; Nigeria; China; Pakistan; Ghana; Bangladesh; Malaysia; United States; Iran; Sri Lanka; Hong Kong; Saudi Arabia. 

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