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Brexit would put one in five international students off studying in UK, study finds

The UK could miss out on more than £1bn in first-year tuition fees, researchers warn

Eleanor Busby
Education Correspondent
Tuesday 09 April 2019 20:37 BST
Universities are competing for students at a time when the overall number of applications is falling
Universities are competing for students at a time when the overall number of applications is falling (PA)

One in five prospective international students would be put off studying in the UK if it leaves the EU, study finds.

More than a third (36 per cent) of students would be more likely to study in Britain if Brexit did not happen, according to new research by higher education company QS.

The UK could miss out on more than £1bn in first-year tuition fees if tens of thousands of prospective international and EU students are deterred by Brexit, researchers warn.

Of the students that were more interested in attending UK universities if Britain remained in the EU, two in five said it would prove that the country is still welcoming to international students.

Others cited better job prospects (44 per cent) and financial viability (43 per cent) as reasons for being more interested in studying at a UK university if Britain remained in the EU.

The survey, of 3,000 students, from QS - which is best known for its World University Rankings - has been released on the week that the UK is due to leave the EU.

Paul Raybould, a director at QS, said: “The UK government must work with the sector to continue promoting the UK as a leading study destination for international and EU students.

“With the current Brexit uncertainty looking set to continue, any future proposals which help to make the UK a more attractive place to study should be more widely publicised.

A Universities UK spokesperson said: “International students contribute a huge amount to the UK, both economically and culturally.

“Whilst their presence is worth an estimated £26bn in direct and knock on effects, sustaining over 200,000 jobs in all parts of the UK, they bring much wider benefit to our academic and civic communities.

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“It is important we continue to attract and welcome international students, and the UK’s immigration system should reflect this.

“The government’s recently announced International Education Strategy is a step in the right direction to improve our offer to students, but more can be done to send a welcoming message.”

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