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Research on international students

We conduct occasional pieces of research, many of which result in reports which you can download from the publications section of our website and on the UKCISA Projects and Research Grants Scheme. Key themes include:

  • Experiences of international students in the UK
  • Experiences of the UK student visa system
  • Benchmarking international student services in the UK

Other research on international students and international student policy

You can find other relevant research via the following links:

  • Dept of Education Research Report (July 2017) UK revenue from education related exports and transnational education activity 2010-2014 The research shows in 2014, the total value of UK education-related exports and TNE activity was estimated to be £18.76 billion,  
  • Hobsons International Student Survey 2017: The Changing Dynamics of International Student Recruitment
  • NUS April 2017 report Student perspectives on international students reports on a survey of 4,600 UK offers the student voice on the debate on international students and shows significant support from UK students towards international students in the UK.
  • Universities UK, March 2017 The economic impact of international students on the English regions. The report shows that  international students generated £25 billion to the UK economy in 2014-15
  • QAA HE Scotland International Students - Transitions into Scottish Higher Education. The report from October 2016 outlines the key challenges for international students' transitions into Scottish HE. 
  • The Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) published a report in September 2016 Destination education: Reforming migration policy on international students to grow the UK's vital education exports.  The report examines current UK immigration policy and how this should change in order to encourage more students to study in the UK.
  • ExEdUK report in June 2016 Supporting International Education in the UK assesses the impact of the UK's student visa policies on the UK education sector.  (This report is also useful as it references many earlier reports on the topic)
  • The Chartered Association of Business Schools produced a report in March 2016: UK Business Schools and International Student Recruitment. The report shows that the numbers are in decline and how this impacts the UK.
  • Universities UK published International Undergraduate Students: the UK's competitive advantage in December 2015. This brings together data from the International Student Barometer for the UK, the USA, Australia, New Zealand and Canada.  It shows the UK have the highest satisfaction ratings on all dimensions of the international student experience. The summary report, The UK's competitive advantage was produced in March 2016.
  • Hobsons report  in September 2015 'Value and the International Student' surveys 45,000 students to examine students' perception of value in education.
  • The Higher Education Policy Institute published research together with Kaplan in March 2015 on the perspectives of applicants to UK universities on studying with international students.  This was followed by research with the Higher Education Academy in June 2015 on the perspectives of undergraduate students studying alongside international students.
  • London. London and Partners published a report in October 2015 on the Economic impact of international students on London estimating that international students contribute £3 billion to the UK economy and 37,000 jobs.  This is reported on the London and Partners website and statistics are summarised in Capital attractions at Universities in London the THES in November 2015. Price Waterhouse Cooper and London First also published research in May 2015 on the economic benefit of students to London.  It concludes that international students have a net worth of £2.3 billion to the UK economy and calls on the government to improve data, remove students from the net migration target and create an environment in the UK where students are far better valued.
  • The Student Academic Experience Survey 2014: Summary and recommendations
    This report summarises the results of the 2014 HEPI-HEA Student Academic Experience Survey and makes some policy recommendations arising from the data.
  • Universities UK report International Students in Higher Education: the UK and its competition (September 2014) looks at international student enrolments in the UK, compares them with other countries and assesses the impact of course provision, funding and immigration reforms.
  • Universities UK and British Future report International students and the UK immigration debate (August 2014) assesses public opinion on international student migration.  It draws on a poll of 2,111 people and six workshops.  Key findings include 59% of the public says the government should not reduce international student numbers and only 22% of the public think that international students count as 'migrants'.
  • Hobsons carried out research on student decision making on students planning to study in the UK and Australia: Beyond the Data: Influencing international student decision making’ (May 2014). You can download the Hobsons report from their website.
  • BIS commissioned report on The Wider Benefits of International Higher Education in the UK. Sept 2013. The report examines the social, economic and political benefits to the UK including 'soft power' through study of international alumni who graduated from UK HE institutions in 2007-8.  The report, overall, is extremely positive.
  • University of Sheffield and Oxford Economics researched the wider economic benefit of international students: The  Economic Costs and Benefits of International Students (January 2013). The report quantifies the costs and benefits of international students to the local and regional economy.
  • The UKCISA/Higher Education Academy Teaching International Students project, funded by the Prime Minister's Initiative for International Education includes an extensive resource bank on teaching and learning issues relating to international students, including research articles. You can now find this on the resources pages of the HEA website.
  • The Database for Research into International Education - a searchable database hosted by IDP, Australia's main international education body, containing details of over thousands of books, articles, conference papers and reports on various aspects of international education from publishers in Australia and abroad from 1990 onwards.
  • The Journal of Studies in International Education (JSIE) is the official journal of the Association for Studies in International Education (ASIE). The ASIE is an inter-organizational body whose mission is to encourage serious research dealing with international education and academic mobility, to stimulate interest in such work (both in the international education community and in academic circles in general), and to develop and promote ways to disseminate this work in an effective format. Through the Journal of Studies in International Education, readers are challenged to consider how international education, cooperation, and exchange will influence and be influenced by an increasingly transnational world. Individuals in the UK can subscribe cheaply to the JSIE through the British Council.

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