International students rise, domestic enrollments fall in the UK | This Week in Admissions News

11/08/20235 minute read
International students rise, domestic enrollments fall in the UK | This Week in Admissions News

The world of college admissions is ever-changing and for students with top university ambitions, it’s important to stay up-to-date on the latest developments. A Level results will come out on August 17, providing students with the final decision for their university results. While international numbers have increased for UK admissions, domestic enrollments are expected to drop for a second year. Check back next week to see what’s new and noteworthy in university admissions!


International student numbers rise, domestic enrollments fall in the UK

As the A Level results come out next week, many experts are fearing a further drop in UK student numbers enrolling for university, Times Higher Education has reported. Analysis by dataHE shows that despite an extra 20,000 18-year-olds in the population this year, there are 6,600 fewer applicants looking for a place at university because of a record fall in the application rate. This could be spurred on by the fact that A Level results are supposed to return back to pre-pandemic levels without any inflation. 

Last year there was a drop in the 18-year-old entry rate, which was not driven by a fall in demand but by a collapse in the chances of applicants getting the place they wanted, according to Mark Corver, co-founder of the dataHE consultancy and a former director of analysis and research at Ucas.

It estimated that the overall offer rate has recovered slightly compared with 2022-23 but is still the fourth lowest of the past decade. The rejection rate at high tariff universities will fall from a record 39 per cent last year, dataHE predicts, but will remain the second highest in the post-2012 era. If the success rate of UK 18-year-old applicants is similar to last year, dataHE expects that the entry rate will fall to 35.5 per cent, reflecting the drop in the application rate.

Lee Elliot Major, professor of social mobility at the University of Exeter, predicted that fewer A-level students will secure higher grades as tougher grade boundaries are reintroduced. “The 2023 cohort is in many ways the unluckiest generation of all,” he said. “They will also be waiting nervously for their results for the first time in their lives after not taking GCSEs during the pandemic years.”

While domestic student numbers fall, the international applicants are rising, ICEF has reported. UCAS reports a total of 138,050 international student applications as of the June deadline. EU students accounted for just over 16% of that total (22,400 applicants). Many more applications (115,650) were submitted by non-EU students. That total represents a 2.4% increase over the 30 June applications volume in 2022. There was a modest decline in EU applications that was outpaced by continued growth in non-EU applications.

In a similar vein, the enrolment conversion platform Enroly is reporting significant year-over-year gains in tuition deposits (+11.67%), Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) issuances (+11.36%), and visas issued (+62.04). 

Other top stories in admissions news this week:

  1. Graduates from Columbia University Law School make the most after graduation, CNBC has reported. The median annual earnings among graduates who were working and not enrolled four years after completion is over $200,000 at each of the five Ivy League schools offering advanced law degrees, according to data compiled by the Higher Education Advisory group. Those schools are Columbia University, Cornell University, Harvard University, the University of Pennsylvania and Yale University. Brown University, Dartmouth College and Princeton University do not have law schools.
  2. Asian American students are 28% less likely to be accepted at selective colleges than their White counterparts with similar academic qualifications, according to a working paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research, Higher Ed Dive has reported. The gap was worse for students of South Asian descent, who were 49% less likely to gain admission than their White peers with comparable applications. East Asian and Southeast Asian applicants’ odds were 17% lower than their White peers. Much of the disparity stemmed from legacy admissions policies that favor the children of alumni, who were more likely to be White, the paper said.
  3. About 70% of Americans believe people with a college education have higher earnings and access to a livable wage compared to those with just a high school degree, Inside Higher Ed has reported. However, 53% Americans think accessing high-quality higher education is affordable. Those are some of the core findings of the latest “Varying Degrees” report from New America, which surveys Americans about their perceptions of the value of higher education. The relationship between those findings—that higher education is perceived as valuable but increasingly unaffordable—remains consistent with the survey’s conclusions in previous years, said Sophie Nguyen, lead author of the report and higher education policy analyst for New America, a left-leaning public policy think tank.
  4. According to PIE News, the CEO of NAFSA, Fanta Aw, warns that US higher education institutions will fail in their recruitment efforts if they treat international students as mere “cash cows.” Aw emphasizes the need for institutions to view international students as true assets to the campus, classroom, and community, rather than just a means to fill enrollment gaps or generate tuition revenue. She also advocates for a centralized national strategy for international education to diversify the origin of international students in the US and their study destinations within the US.
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