59% of respondents said they believed the UK to be a good value-for-money study destination. Students from Africa were most positive about the financial worth of UK HEIs, with a net score of +60 in the QS report.
“This survey confirms the strong reputation that UK universities have built internationally”
However, respondents saw Germany as a better value destination, while Canada was seen as an equally sound investment.
Students from EU nations are also less likely to see the UK as a good value destination. The net score from EU students was +17, with only 19% regarding the UK as “very good” value, compared to 41% of students from Africa.
QS states that: “questions remain as to why EU students don’t see as much value [in UK HE] as international students from other regions”, due to the popularity of Germany, and EU students paying the same rates as UK students.
UK and Europe director of QS Solutions, Patrick Whitfield, expressed that this perception of a less well-valued UK from European students is a surprise due to the effect that Brexit has already had on the UK economy.
“International students see the TEF Gold rating as one of the top five reasons why studying in the UK is value for money”
“Given the relative weakness of the pound since last year’s decision to leave the EU, it is somewhat surprising that EU students continue to have a weaker perception of the value of UK tuition fees than other regions,” Whitfield said in a statement.
But this is no surprise to Gerrit Bruno Blöss, managing director of Study.EU, whose users are international students hoping to study in Europe.
“Germany being perceived as better value for money than the UK is in line with what we see and hear from our users. It really is no surprise with so many competitive universities, virtually tuition-free, and with a lower average cost of living than the UK,” he said.
Postgraduate students also hold a higher opinion of their ROI from studying in the UK, than their undergraduate peers. Mature students also have a favourable opinion on the matter, with 26-30-year-olds scoring +53 compared to +27 of under-20’s.
In the report, QS Solutions highlight that international students trust the TEF Gold rating, and see it as one of the top five reasons why studying at a UK institution can be good value for money.
“Better qualified staff” and high rates of graduate employment are also listed as the benefits that UK HE brings, and therefore justification for the higher fees that were seen as good value for money by respondents.
The head of policy for the Russell Group of UK universities, Sarah Stevens, commented that the results of the survey act to bolster the strength of the UK’s HE sector, but note that more can be done to ensure the UK remains an attractive option for international students.
“This survey confirms the strong reputation that UK universities have built internationally,” she told The PIE News.
“The review of student immigration that is now underway is an opportunity to look again at things like post-study visas to ensure the UK remains competitive in what is a global marketplace for education,” she added.
Whitfield echoed this in his statement, adding that there is still work to be done, in an ever-shifting sector.
“Universities need to respond dynamically to the challenges that higher education faces,” he said.
A spokesperson for Universities UK International said: “Our research shows that international students have a great experience at UK institutions.”
“The UK is the most recommended English-speaking destination by overseas students with 92% of undergraduates and 90% of postgraduates saying they are happy with their experience studying here,” they added.
Over 1,000 current and prospective international students were either studying in the UK, or interested in doing so, when interviewed for this research.