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International student statistics

Sources of regularly published data on international students in the UK

You can find some quick summaries of international student statistics linked via the left-hand menu on this page, but UKCISA does not collect or process international student data, so if you have a query about anything more detailed please check the websites and publications of the following organisations:

Other estimates

There is no reliable source of data on international students outside the HE sector, but the following research reports give some estimates:

  • The International School Council's annual census gives details of non-British students in UK independent schools (in 2014, there were 24,391 living in the UK without their parents and an additional 11,329 with parents in the UK) 
  • A BIS report (April 2013) estimates numbers of Tier 4 students in public sector further education at about 10,000 - although if student visitors and EEA students are included, the total number of international students can be assumed to be much higher. 
  • Another BIS report (July 2013) on privately funded higher education providers in the UK estimates that approximately half of the 160,000 students in the sector were from outside the UK, 10% from the EU (16,000) and 41% from outside the EU (66,000)
  • English UK's report on the value of the sector to local economies shows that English UK members reported 2,5 million 'student weeks' of activity in 2011 (as English language students come for hugely varying stays, the sector measures these by the number of student weeks, rather than numbers of students)


Other data on student mobility

See also our information on data for outward mobility from the UK.

Transnational Education

  • A report commissioned by BIS The Value of Transnational Education to the UK defines TNE as 'award- or credit-bearing higher education learning undertaken by students based in a different country from that of the awarding institution.' This includes branch campuses and distance learning programmes.  The report develops data gathered by HESA's Aggregate Offshore Records and estimates revenue to be worth £495 million in 2012/13.
  • British Council Report, 2013 The Shape of Things to Come.The evolution of transnational education: data, definitions, opportunities and impacts analysis. This examines a range of countries.


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