Why do foreign citizens come to the UK to study?

Why do foreign citizens come to the UK to study?

The United Kingdom has long been famous for its world-class universities. The city of London is home not only to world recognised educational institutions but also to its beautiful campuses; enough to lure thousands of students from across the world every year. Currently, the UK is the second most popular destination in the world for international students after the United States.
So what makes UK universities appealing?
Various educational and ranking institutions—Universities UK, Times Higher Education, The World University Rankings, amongst many others—agree on several factors behind their appeal. The most obvious one is the quality education since a big percentage of graduates end up successful and key players in various industries anywhere in the world.
The government’s continuous efforts in enhancing the current state of the educational system for the better play an essential role, too. For this year, the UK government allocated a total of £320 million (approx. US$926 million) to finance the existing 140,000 public schools and build 70,000 additional grammar schools across the country.  Many private educational institutions—Oxford University, for instance—will also benefit from this amount of budget.
The number of UK universities receiving partnership requests from foreign universities is also constantly increasing through the transnational education (TNE) provision, which is essential in enhancing their brand outside the country.
It also helps that the country is amongst the least corrupt in the world; a reality that is highly critical of parents who would spend a lot of money on their children’s education. In a research by Transparency International, the UK remains amongst the most honest and cleanest nations in the world, ranking at #10, tying with Luxembourg and Germany.
Diversity is also a factor, since, understandably, international students would most likely be attending a school where multiculturalism is highly valued.   

What do the stats say?
In 2017, 8 percent of all visas granted were for study. Between March 2016 and March this year, a total of 208,906 visas were granted, up 1 percent from the same period of the previous year. Local universities were also seen aggressively sponsoring foreign students to the extent that it rose by 3 percent to 168,591 sponsorships from last year, including the ones from the Russel Group, which increased by 7 percent to 80,664 sponsorships.
Last year, a total of 44,398 extensions were granted to former students, down by 31 percent from 2015. Over 35,000 of which were for further study, while only 5,143 were for Tier 2 skilled worker visa. China, the US, India, Hong Kong, and Saudi Arabia are the top 5 sources of international students in 2016. The rankings retained as of first quarter of this year. The number of sponsored student visa applications increased by 2 percent in the year ending March 2017 to 202,042, against the previous 12 months’ 198,481 sponsorships.
All in all, the Home Office said that the number of visa applications since 2013 has been consistently stagnant, as declines and growths were only minimal if there was any.


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