The UK government has announced that 498,626 sponsored study visas were granted to international students in 2023, which is 23% more than in the year ending June 2022 and double (+108%) the year ending June 2019, prior to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Indian nationals accounted for one-third of all sponsored study grants to main applicants – the highest of all nationalities. Almost one-quarter (154,000) of all sponsored study-related visas have been granted to dependants of students.
98,398 visas were issued by June 2023 via the Graduate route, the government said.
According to the latest HESA statistics bulletin in academic 2021-22 there were 679,970 international students studying in the UK. 120,140 of these were from the EU and almost 560K were non-EU.
Chinese students made up the largest group of international students with 151,690 studying in the UK in 2021-22. China was followed by 126,535 students from India and 32,945 from Nigeria (up from 14,270 students in 2020-21).
French and Italian students remain the two largest cohorts from the EU with 11,870 and 11,320 students respectively studying in the UK in 2021-22.
First-degree courses remained the most popular type of higher education, despite a decrease of 2% between 2020/21 and 2021/22.
For many consecutive years, Business Studies has retained its position as the most sought-after course, and this year is no different. Following closely in popularity are Finance, Law, and Computer Science. The London School of Economics takes the lead as the university with the highest international student enrolment, boasting a substantial 73% of its student body hailing from abroad. In fact, it ranks as the sixth university worldwide for its substantial foreign student population in the QS World University Rankings 2023.
Oxford and Cambridge remain highly desired, but their admission standards are very demanding, even for domestic students. Many students, particularly those lacking fluency in English, fail to meet the requirements necessary to gain admission.
Why do people want to study in the UK?
One of the main reasons why so many foreign students choose to study in the UK is the quality of education. The UK is home to some of the world's top universities, with a reputation for excellence in teaching and research.
Many of these universities also offer a wide range of courses and programs, including undergraduate, postgraduate, and PhD degrees.
Studying in the UK also offers a unique cultural experience for foreign students. The country has a rich history and diverse culture, with many opportunities to explore its traditions, customs, and landmarks. Additionally, the UK is a multicultural society with people from all over the world, making it an ideal place to meet new people and make international connections.
Looking for a UK university?
Navigating an unfamiliar education system can be hard. We can help you find the right place to study, apply there, and feel at home in the UK.