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International students winning more university spaces in leading destination countries

New data from the United Kingdom and the United States shows continuing international enrolment growth as universities in both countries – determined to further internationalise and also to address budgetary challenges at home – make more spaces available to foreign students.

The Council of Graduate Schools is reporting a third consecutive year of growth in international enrolment in US graduate programmes. From 2011 to 2012, international admissions for US graduate schools were up 9%, hot on the heels of another 9% increase from 2010 to 2011.

China continues to be the main source of international graduate students in the US. Graduate school applications from Chinese students are up 18% in 2012 – for a seventh straight year of double-digit growth – and this follows similar increases of 20% and 21% in 2010 and 2011.

Aside from China, both Mexico (17%) and Brazil (14%) registered big increases in US graduate applications in 2012.

STEM subjects – science, technology, engineering, and mathematics – remain the core of international demand for US graduate education. Roughly 26% of foreign graduate students in America are in engineering, with another 20% studying sciences and applied sciences.

Meanwhile in the UK, the number of non-European Union students studying in leading British universities is also up by double digits this year.

Commenting on the increase, The Telegraph notes:

The [news] comes amid claims that universities are increasingly reliant on foreign students, who can be charged far higher fees.

More broadly, the paper also notes that leading universities worldwide have become increasingly reliant on foreign students in recent years.

The world’s leading 100 universities recruited an average of almost 10% more international students this year than in 2011 – the biggest increase in the rankings’ nine-year history.

British universities appear to be tracking slightly ahead of this global average with the 49 UK institutions among the top 500 ranked universities recording an average year-over-year increase of nearly 12% for 2011.

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