Updated February 16th, 2024 at 11:00 IST

UK Universities Witness 4% Drop in Indian Student Applications Amid Visa Review and Restrictions

UK universities see a 4% drop in Indian student applications due to visa review and scholarship restrictions, despite a 0.7% overall international increase.

Reported by: Nandini Verma
UK Universities Witness 4% Decline in Indian Student Applications Amid Visa Review | Image:Unsplash
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Official statistics released on Thursday indicate a concerning trend for British universities, with a 4% drop in applications from Indian students. This decline comes amidst ongoing reviews of the post-study work visa and restrictions on bringing dependents on government-funded scholarships.

The data from the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) highlights that while the overall number of international students applying for undergraduate places increased by 0.7%, both Indians and Nigerians led a downward trend, showing a decrease in applications.

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Applications from India fell by 4% compared to the previous year, amounting to 8,770 applications, while those from Nigeria experienced a more significant decline of 46%, totaling 1,590 applications.

According to UCAS, "UK higher education remains attractive globally, with a 0.7% increase in international applicants. The highest increases are seen from China (3%, 910 applicants), Turkey (37%, 710 applicants), and Canada (14%, 340 applicants). However, there has been a decrease in applicants from Nigeria (minus 46%) and India (minus 4%)."

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The decline in applications from India is speculated to be linked to the ongoing review of the Graduate Route visa by the government led by Rishi Sunak. The Graduate Route visa allows graduates to stay in the UK for at least two years after completing their degrees for work experience. Indian nationals make up the largest group of students granted leave to remain on this route, representing 43% of grants last year.

Additionally, the recent clampdown, effective from last month, on overseas students bringing along dependents on all but postgraduate research courses and courses with government-funded scholarships may have contributed to the drop in applications.

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Dr. Jo Saxton, Chief Executive at UCAS, commented on the data, saying, "While today's data shows a decline in applications from mature students, which will be more keenly felt in some subjects such as nursing, we know that these applicants are more likely to apply later in the cycle."

She reassured prospective students that the application deadline extends until June 30, and they can also apply directly to Clearing afterward. The UCAS website offers support, guidance, and tips to help individuals make informed choices about their higher education futures.

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Published February 16th, 2024 at 11:00 IST