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UK: £9bn in tuition from non-EU in 2021/22

The amount of tuition generated at UK universities from non-EU students reached close to £9 billion in the 2021/22 academic year, a 90% increase on 2016/17 figures.

Durham University made £126.9m from non-EU, £126.5m from UK and £7m from EU students. Photo: pexels

The University of Manchester's non-EU students contributed £374m in fees

UK institutions hosted 312,795 non-EU students in 2016/17, who paid a total of £4.6bn. This is compared with 559,825 non-EU students contributing £8.9bn in 2021/22, according to HESA data.

Total fees from EU students has increased from £1.02bn in 2016/17 when 138,040 students enrolled to £1.06bn in 2021/22 when 120,140 EU students joined classes.

The latest figure is an unsurprising drop from the £1.39bn EU students paid in fees in 2020/21.

A number of institutions saw higher levels of income from non-EU students than domestic UK students, the new statistics showed.

Of the £712m University College London raised in tuition fees, £501m came from non-EU international students.

The University of Manchester’s non-EU students contributed £374m in fees, compared with the £242m from UK and EU students.

King’s College London, The University of Leeds, The University of Edinburgh, The University of Warwick, Imperial and Glasgow all had more fees paid by non-EU students than EU and domestic students.

Among the top 10 universities with the most income from tuition fees, The Open University University of Nottingham and The University of Birmingham were the only three to have more tuition from UK and EU students than from non-EU students.

Of the 24 Russell Group universities, 14 received more in course fees from non-EU students than from UK and EU students, including Oxford, Cambridge, LSE and UCL.

Durham University generated £126.9m from non-EU, £126.5m from UK and £7m from EU students.

Over the five years from 2016/17 to 2021/22, the data suggests that the average fees paid by non-EU students rose to £15,946 from £14,895.

The UK famously hit its 600,000 target 10 years ahead of schedule, and latest data shows that there were 679,970 non-UK students in 2021/22.

If the average fee for non-EU students continues to rise at the same rate for the next decade, the average tuition will cost £18,256. By 2030, the UK’s target is to host 600,000 international students but also increase education exports to a value of £35bn – which tuition income will be only a part of.

Higher Education Policy Institute and Kaplan modelling in 2017 suggested that while higher fees for EU students would likely reduce demand, tuition fee income could increase with the raised tuition for EU-students in the UK.

A previous target to hit £30bn by 2020 was not met. TNE exports and edtech options are hoped to help the UK reach its new target.

Update: May 2, 15:20GMT – the introduction to this story has been changed from “The amount of tuition at UK universities made from non-EU students reached close to £9 billion in the 2021/22 academic year, a 90% increase on 2016/17 figures” to the current wording.

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2 Responses to UK: £9bn in tuition from non-EU in 2021/22

  1. “*Made* £XX from YY students” is ambiguous language. The figures quoted look like income, not net surplus. Generally, UK universities don’t “make” any surplus from UK students and for many (STEM) courses, the present tuition fee is actually a subsidy.

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