UK government increasing emphasis on transnational education

In a recent conference, the UK minister reinforced the government’s support for an expansion of British TNE programs.

This aligns with the stated intention of a majority of UK institutions to further expand programming abroad.

At the same time, a recent survey of prospective student finds strong interest in UK branch campuses in Europe among both EU and non-EU students.

In the recent year when a British Council/UK HE International Unit report noted 13% growth in British TNE enrolment between 2013/14 and 2014/15. Moreover, a survey of UK higher education institutions at the time found that 4 in 5 planned to further expand their TNE provision over the next three years.

The latest figures from the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) indicate a further increase in 2015/16 with 673,000 foreign students studying toward British higher education qualifications in TNE programs during the year.

At the recent International Higher Education Forum in London, Under-Secretary of State at the Department of International Trade (DIT), placed a further emphasis on programming abroad.

The government’s stated intention to trigger Article 50 on 29 March, which will mark the beginning of the process of the UK’s departure from the European Union, the Minister said, “Britain may be a small country, but our universities stand tall in the world, Many countries with a large school-leaver population are without sufficient higher education in the country to meet demand. This presents a huge export opportunity for our top-class educational institutions…and we look to fill this demand.”

The Minister noted as well that DIT has recently appointed a new higher education specialist to better support British institutions in expanding their programs abroad.

International Student Survey 2017 point to a strong interest in British branch campuses among prospective students abroad.

Interestingly, the survey focused exclusively on international students who were already considering studying in the UK. It gathered nearly 1,000 responses from prospective students, EU and non-EU alike, over a 24-hour period in March 2017. Among the key findings:

3 in 4 EU students (76%) said that they would be “very likely” or “somewhat likely” to study in a branch campus of a UK university in an EU country other than their own.

58% of EU students said that “very likely” or “somewhat likely” to study in a branch campus of a UK university in their home country;
however, 36% said that they would not be likely to study at a branch campus in their home country, preferring instead to pursue an international experience.

7 in 10 non-EU students (69%) said that they would be “very likely” or “somewhat likely” to study in a branch campus of a UK university in an EU country.

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