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Jump in overseas applications, Hong Kong

Overseas student interest in Hong Kong is growing, much of it from within Asia

Universities have seen rises of up to 55% in overseas applications

The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, where applications increased by 50%, said most of its interest was at undergraduate level and from Korea, Indonesia and Malaysia.

“Hong Kong has always been a popular student destination for overseas studies, for its unique location, dynamic culture, accessibility and international and upbeat lifestyle,” Wilfred Lai, division head of media and community relations, told The PIE News.

Hong Kong wants to attract more overseas students and has recently doubled the “non-local” (foreign and mainland Chinese) quota of overseas students at public universities to 20%; established a US$160 million scholarship fund that foreign students can access; and relaxed part-time and post-study work restrictions (students may remain and work “without limitations” for 12 months after graduations).

Favourable land deals have also increased capacity for more universities, although the region is not seeking the student volumes pursued by fellow Asian hubs Singapore and Malaysia, preferring to attract only those with a high level of English. Universities have also increased overseas marketing.

“Hong Kong has always been a popular student destination for overseas studies”

“Hong Kong has placed particular efforts on and made good progress in attracting international students, as its history has embraced a rich cultural blend of both East and West where students are used to mixing with fellow students of different origins and background,” said Alasdair Crewe, head of PR at the Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office.

“The English environment and English-speaking tertiary institutions in Hong Kong facilitate overseas students to study here… And the rich Chinese language and cultural environment, both on- and off-campus, help prepare students who are interested in developing their career in Asia, particularly in the Greater China region.”

He added that the region offered well ranked universities and business programmes “among the best in the world”.

The jump in interest is encouraging given Hong Kong this year lengthened all its degree programmes from three to four years, raising the average cost from HK$80,000 to $120,000 (£6,550 – £9,831 annually).

Hong Kong welcomed 18,000 non-local students to its 16 national universities in 2010/11, according to official sources, with the majority hailing from the mainland.

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