British universities are losing out to the USA and struggling to attract students from India, according to newly published research.
The results of the study highlights a greater demand from Indian students for places at leading international universities and that the US is fulfilling this demand.
By 2024, 54 per cent of international postgraduate students in the US will arrive from India, compared with just nine per cent in the UK.
At 44 per cent, the highest proportion of foreign students in Britain come from China, and Nigeria is soon to overtake India as the UK’s second biggest provider of international students.
The findings were published by the British Council, the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities.
The research, based on demographic and economic data up to 2012, also highlights that the growth rate of the number of international postgraduate students is set to decrease to 3.5 per cent by 2024, a fall of 0.6 per cent since 2012.
Consequently, there will be a slower growth rate of international postgraduate students coming to British universities than in Australia, Canada and the US, although the UK is still ahead of Japan.
Zainab Malik, Director of Research for British Council Education Intelligence and the author of the report, expressed his surprise at the level of dependence on origin countries such as China.
Malik said: “Considering the numerous factors that can affect international student mobility, diversifying postgraduate recruitment strategies may not only help lessen that dependence but also broaden and deepen global skills and knowledge exchange.”
According to the International Office at the University of Edinburgh, the numbers of postgraduate students coming to Edinburgh from India has reduced by 19 per cent since last year.
Robbie Willis, Head of International Recruitment and Development at the International Office, attributed the decline of Indian postgraduate students applying to British universities to the post-study employment policies of the UK Government and the strength of the Pound Sterling against the Indian Rupee.
Despite the University of Edinburgh’s rate of decline being below the UK average, Mr Willis told The Student that international students continue to be attracted to the University of Edinburgh for “a variety of reasons and their motivations can vary from country to country and by level of study.”
“However our world ranking [currently 17th in the 2014 QS World University Rankings] and research of international significance are key to our success in attracting students at all levels […] the city of Edinburgh is an extremely attractive and safe place to study with an enviable quality of life.
“The University of Edinburgh has a strategic aim to increase its international postgraduate community and we expect to fulfil this expectation.”
Data from the British Council shows that in England 74 per cent of all full-time taught Masters students are now from abroad.