Country:

2013/14:

2014/15

% of total:

% change:

1. China

274,439

304,040

31.2%

10.8%

2. India

102,673

132,888

13.6%

29.4%

3. South Korea

68,047

63,710

6.5%

-6.4%

4. Saudi Arabia

58,919

59,945

6.1%

11.2%

5. Canada

28,304

27, 240

2.8%

-3.8

6. Brazil

13,286

23,675

2.4%

78.2%

7. Taiwan

21,266

20,993

2.2%

-1.3%

8. Japan

19,334

19,064

2.0%

-1.4%

9. Vietnam

16,579

18,722

1.9%

12.9%

10. Mexico

14,779

17,050

1.7%

15.4%

11. Iran

10,194

11, 338

1.2%

11.2%

12.  U.K

10,191

10,743

1.1%

5.4%

13. Turkey

10,821

10,724

1.1%

-0.9%

14. Germany

10,160

10,193

1.1%

0.3%

15. Nigeria

7,921

9,494

1.0%

19.9%

United States

Steady growth in international student enrolment:

In 2013 the US recorded its eighth consecutive year of international student enrolment growth, 8% expansion in 2013/14 to reach a figure of 886,052 students. The impact on the US economy was US$27 billion with accompanying 340,000 jobs created.

However, international students represent just over 4% of total higher education enrolment in the US in 2013/2014. The US is the leading international study destination and is host to approximately one in five of the world's mobile higher education students. The top four sending countries are, China, India, Saudi Arabia and South Korea.

There are 17 countries which send at least 5,000.00 students respectively to the US yearly. These are:

  1. Brazil
  2. Canada
  3. China
  4. Colombia
  5. Germany
  6. Hong Kong
  7. India
  8. Indonesia
  9. Iran
  10. Kuwait
  11. Mexico
  12. Nigeria
  13. Saudi Arabia
  14. Spain
  15. United Kingdom
  16. Venezuela
  17. Vietnam

United States

Community colleges in US helping build undergraduate enrolments:

Approximately half of all US students commenced their studies at the community colleges, this is the same for about 900,000 international students currently enrolled in American universities. Community colleges are supportive and relatively affordable and they provide English language training to international students who may subsequently want to progress to universities.

US community colleges offer two broad types of programs, namely the one and two year vocational and technical certificates or diplomas. And the two year associate degrees in a range of academic subjects.

Hong Kong

Hong Kong outbound students figure increasing:

The number of Hong Kong students seeking study options abroad continues to grow. 2013 saw 31,825 students study abroad with the United Kingdom (12,946), Australia (9,244), the United States (7,681) and Canada (1,614) hosting the vast majority. Data from the Higher Education Funding Council for England showed more than 4,600 Hong Kong students enrolled in undergraduate courses in 2012/13, up 24% from 2011/12, even as overall international students numbers remain stagnant in the UK.

Recent figures from Australia indicate a 22% increase in overall enrolment from Hong Kong (and just over 28% increase in commencements) between 2013/14. While enrolment to the US has been flat over the past several years.

Saudi Arabia

Saudi tighten belt on outbound students requirements:

The Saudi government is moving to cut education spending in 2016 on the heels of a US$100 billion deficit in 2015. The 2016 edition of the International Exhibition and Conference on Higher Education (IECHE) in Riyadh has been cancelled, while the Saudi government has introduced a cap on pre-academic language studies in the US.

The government also recently announced new eligibility requirements for students wanting to apply for funding after enrolling in institutions abroad. Those students must now be enrolled in one of the world's top 50 academic programs in their field or one of the world'd top 100 universities. 

Turkey

Turkey, a multicultural and Erasmus member is catching the attention of an ever-increasing number of international students. The expansion of higher education capacity in Turkey has been integral to Turkey's ability to welcome more international students. Between 2006 and 2011, 50 public universities and 36 private foundations universities were established.

There are now 165 universities in Turkey, which host students from more than 155 countries. The most important source countries being Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Morocco and Nigeria.

Turkey

International student numbers to Turkey grows:

Turkey reported in 2012 increase in inbound international students numbers from 15,481 in 2005/06 to 26,228 by 2010/11. This increase is mainly due to the growth of the Turkish economy, an improvement in living conditions in Turkey, the hospitality and philanthropy of the Turkish people and the popularity of Turkey as a safe and comfortable destination for Muslim students.

Malaysia

Malaysia releases landmark education blueprint:

In April 2015, Malaysia released its landmark education blueprint with the ambition of becoming a major education destination for international students. The set goals of the blueprint is as follows:

  1. Increasing the tertiary enrolment rate from the current 36% to 53% by 2025 and higher education enrolment from 48% to 70% by 2025.
  2. Increasing the graduate employability rate which is currently 75% to 80% by 2025.
  3. Increasing international students from the current 103,000 to 250,000 by 2025 and
  4. Placing among the top 25 in the 50 countries Universitas 21 ranks in terms of research, enrolment and employability of which it is currently 44th.

Australia

Australian education exports top AU$19 billion:

Recently released 2016 data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics reveals that Australia's education export income reached AU$19.65 billion in 2015, which represents an increment of 11.5% over 2014 and the second consecutive year of double-digit growth. The top five sending countries were - China, India, Vietnam, South Korea and Thailand (accounting for 51.1% of all international enrolments).

Outside of the top five senders, Brazil, Nepal, Pakistan, Hong Kong and Colombia were all notable senders. There were 373,734 commencements (representing 8.4% increase over the 2014 period). The enrolment performance in 2015 was slightly higher than the ten-year average of 7.3% for commencement growth.

Australia to streamline visa system:

In a recent announcement, the Government of Australia will introduce a simpler student visa system on July 1, 2016 when the present Streamlined visa processing system expires. The new visa system to be known as Simplified Student Visa Framework )SSVF) will offer some relief to both international students and Australian educators.

Features of the new SSVF:

  1. Reduced number of student visa sub-classes from 8 to 2.
  2. Introduction of a single immigration risk framework under which all international students will be assessed.
  3. Determination of students financial and English language proficiency, when processing their application will entail the examination of the profile of student's country of citizenship and their education provider.

It should be noted that all Australian education institutions will participate in the SSVF system unlike the present SVP system which involves universities, a few vocational education and training institutions and private providers.

Australia new draft strategy for international education:

The much anticipated draft strategy for international education has been released. The document acknowledges the recent up-surge of the country as a leading destination country, identifies areas that need to be improved for better study experience and also lays out plans to boost Australia's international student global competitiveness.

Finland

Finland introduces university tuition fees for non-EU students:

A new law that came into force on January 1, 2016 introduced tuition fees for non-EU students, but under the regulations non-EU fees are not mandatory until August 1, 2017. Non-EU students beginning undergraduate or master's programs after August 1, 2017 can expect to pay minimum tuition fees of euro 1,500 yearly, institutions are free to fix their tuition fees. However this will not apply to doctoral students or non-EU students whose programs are taught in Finnish or Swedish.

The severity of this can be seem in the light of the fact that Finland has one of the most expensive costs of living in Europe. Official government statistics indicate that there are a total of 19,880 foreign students enrolled in degree programs at Finnish universities and polytechnics in 2014, with non-EU students accounting for 77% (15,330) of this number.

Finland

Finnish education faces austerity measures that will see the introduction of fees for non-EU students:

Students in Finland are caught up in austerity measures to be introduced as a result of the difficulty state of the Finnish economy. As a result, non-EU international students may soon be paying tuition fees.

Currently Finland host about 20,000 international students from the following countries:

  1. China (2,129 students)
  2. Russia (2107 students)
  3. Nepal (976 students)
  4. Nigeria (939 students)
  5. Vietnam (904 students)
  6. Estonia (772 students)
  7. Pakistan (603 students)
  8. Bangladesh (591 students)
  9. India (557 students)
  10. Sweden (556 students)
  11. Germany (525 students)
  12. Ethiopia (454 students)
  13. Iran (401 students)
  14. Kenya (385 students)
  15. Ghana (382 students)

Africa

Africa rising:

France is still the major destination of most international students from Africa with 380,376 students representing 29.2% of student population. Africa however, has 10% of global international student population and this percentage is expected to increase in the years ahead. France is the destination of choice for Francophone African students, from both the Maghreb and sub-Saharan Africa. Only 2.6% of students from Anglophone Africa study in France.

South Africa is the number two destination for students from Africa with a market share of 15%, an increase of 28.8% since 2006. South Africa is the destination of choice for English speaking students from such countries as, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Botswana and Lesotho.

The United Kingdom and the United States come in third place with a market share of 9.7% respectively, while Germany has 4.7% market share.

Italy , Canada and Morocco have all seen huge gains in their numbers of African students since 2006 with Italy gaining 54%, Canada 42% and Morocco 50%.

African countries by size of students studying abroad:

1. Morocco - 42,800 (11.3%)

2. Nigeria - 38,851 (10.2%)

3. Algeria - 22,465 (5.9%)

4. Zimbabwe - 19,658 (5.2%)

5. Cameroon - 19,506 (5.1%)

6. Tunisia - 19,506 (5.1%)

It should be noted that increasing numbers of African students are opting to study on the continent as is the case with the huge increase of Nigerian students who now study in Ghana instead of Europe or North America.

South Korea

South Korea restructuring its education:

South Korea has shown a willingness to strengthen its educational institution and join in bilateral research and academic initiatives. The country is interested not only as a source country for international students but also as a destination country. It is working to upgrade its schools and practices to make them more attractive to international students.

Japan

Improvement in Japan's international students enrolment:

2014 saw noticeable improvement in Japan's international students enrolment. The latest figures from Japan Student Services Organization (JASSO), show there were 184,155 international students studying in Japan as at May 1, 2014.

This figure represents a 9.5% increase over the 2013 figures and shows growth in this sector since 2011 when Japan was hit by an earthquake. With the latest figures, there is hope that Japan's attempt to globalize its education is beginning to take root. The vast majority of international students in Japan are from Asia and the attraction is their proximity to Japan, Japanese education being relatively more affordable when compared to that of the United States and the rising pop culture in Japan.

The top 5 sending countries to Japan are:

1. China - 93,399

2. Vietnam - 26,439

3. Rep of Korea - 15,777

4. Nepal - 10,448

5. Taiwan - 6,231.

Nigeria

Nigerian students switch to USA and Canadian universities, shun UK:

According to recent survey by Study Search, a university application platform that provides services for international students mostly from Africa, Nigerian students are shunning UK educational institutions in favour of US and Canadian education providers. This is as a result of unfavourable policies and rising costs of tertiary education in the UK. The survey indicate that the number of students wishing to attend universities in the UK fell by as much as 65% between 2014 - 2015.

Nigeria

Nigeria on track to become one of the fast growing outbound postgraduate market:

UNESCO estimate shows that 49,531 students from Nigeria went abroad in 2012. The growth rate for Nigerian outbound mobility at the postgraduate level grew by an average of 7.4% from 2007 to 2012.

The United Kingdom accounted for just over a third, while the United States accounted for about 14%. Ghana, Malaysia, South Africa and Canada all had significant numbers. According to the British Council, the United Kingdom is expected to host 28,800 Nigerian postgraduate students by 2024, the United States is expected to host 7,600 Nigerian postgraduate students.

The highest annual average growth in Nigerian postgraduate flows will be to Australia (+12.7%), Canada (+11.2%), Germany (+9.7%), the United States (+9.5%) and the United Kingdom (+7.7%). It is projected that the volume of Nigerian students to the United Kingdom will be the fifth largest bilateral movement of postgraduate students in the world by 2024 (after only the flow of Chinese students to the United States, Indian students to the United States, Chinese students to the United Kingdom and Chinese students to Australia).

Generally there are close correlation between demand for postgraduate studies abroad and demand for study at other levels including undergraduate degrees. This being the case, Nigeria is poised to be one of the most significant growth markets in international education in the decade ahead.

Ireland

Ireland introduces Interim List of Education Providers:

Effective January 20, 2016 international students wanting to study in Ireland can only do so if the educational institution they wish to study in is listed on the new ILEP. The significance of this is that international students can only receive student visas to attend institutions listed on the ILEP. This is in addition to the restrictions on the number of hours international students may work as well as the reduction in the number of months a non-EEA (European Economic Area) students may hold a student visa. In the past, non-EEA students were permitted to hold visas for a one-year term; this term has now been reduced to eight months.

Ireland

New reforms introduced to international students study in Ireland:

As a result of fraudulent activities of some education providers in Ireland, the government has introduced some reforms to safeguard international students. As many as 10 private colleges closed in 2014 displacing more than 3,000 students, mainly none-EU. The Irish government released a special policy statement in September 2014, setting out a series of reforms in 3 areas.

  • The process by which education providers are determined to be eligible to receive international students, namely the approved institutions that international students can receive a visa to attend.
  • Enhanced inspection and compliance regime for international students.
  • Changes to the "work-study" arrangement for international students. Students are now only permitted to work 40 hours per week for 4 months (May to August), and from 15 December to 15 January. All other work will be a maximum of 20 hours per week for international students.

Sweden

Work and immigration opportunities now available to foreign trained graduates:

Sweden has introduced work and immigration opportunities to foreign trained graduates. Doctoral students will be able to qualify for permanent residence provided they have had a study permit in Sweden for 4 out of the past 7 years. Also international students will be able to stay in Sweden to look for work or set up their own companies on graduation.

Prior to 2011, Sweden was one of the few countries to offer free tuition to all foreign students regardless of origin. The introduction of fees in 2011 had an immediate negative impact on enrolment figures. The latest UNESCO figures estimate there are 28,629 international students studying in Sweden in 2014.

United Kingdom

Sharp declines from emerging markets pressuring non-EU enrolment in UK:

The January 14, 2016 released numbers for 2014 - 2015 higher education enrolment statistics by Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA), show total enrolment fell by 1% between 2013 - 2014 and 2014 - 2015. Undergraduate enrolment and part-time student numbers fell by 2% and 6% respectively. While the total number of non-EU enrolment was essentially flat in 2014 - 2015 rising only by 1% over the year before, the number of first-year students from outside the EU fell by 3%.

As the following table shows the number of the overall decline in first-year non-EU enrolment for 2014 - 2015 was led by some of the world's most important emerging markets. Year-over-year numbers from India and Nigeria were down 10% and 8% respectively. Six of the top ten non-EU source countries for UK declined in 2014 - 2015.


2014-2015

2013-2014 to 2014-2015

China

58,845

0%

United States

10,205

1%

India

10,125

-10%

Nigeria

9,475

-8%

Malaysia

8,540

-6%

Hong Kong

6,925

3%

Saudi Arabia

4,250

0%

Thailand

4,010

-3%

Singapore

3,040

-1%

Canada

2,970

-8%

All other

55,925

-4%

Total all UK

174,310

-3%

United Kingdom

Changes to UK international students visa:

Changes which came into effect on November 12, 2015 requires that international students under the Further Education (FE) category are not permitted to apply for a work visa on the completion of their studies unless they first leave the country.

Also, the length of FE visas has been reduced from 3 years to 2 years.

UK set to ban non-EU students from working after graduation:

British Home Secretary Theresa May announced that non-EU students will have to leave the UK immediately they complete their study program. According to the Minister, this will stop colleges from being used as a "back door to a British work visa". Official figures have shown that of the 121,000 non-EU students that entered the UK between June 2013 and June 2014, only 51, 000 returned to their home country, while 70,000 remained in the UK.

The UK government wants to stop student visa being used as an easy way to enter UK, whereby the applicant subsequently gets a job and then claim benefits. Under the proposed new rules, non-EU students will be denied the right to work and will not be able to apply for a visa extension on the completion of their study program. Non-EU students will first have to leave the UK before applying to return under a work visa.

Furthermore, the length of stay is expected to be cut to two years when the government proposals are implemented. Already, government has taken action against 870 bogus colleges by banning them from admitting international students. The government estimates that the number of international students studying in the UK will rise by more than 6% yearly up to 2020. 

Germany

Germany sees increase in international students enrolments:

Approximately half of international students in Germany come from Europe, especially Eastern Europe, with Russia, Bulgaria and Poland accounting for most of the student numbers. Other top student providers are Turkey and Austria.

In Asia, China and India provide about a third of international students to German institutions. The major attraction for international students to Germany is the low or no tuition fees of German educational institutions as well as the post-study rights for foreign students.

In an attempt to offset a shortage of skilled labour, the German government implemented the EU Blue Card Scheme in summer of 2012. This is similar to the US Green Card and is designed to make Europe a more attractive destination for highly educated persons from outside of the European Union. All 27 E.U members participate in this scheme, except the UK, Ireland and Denmark.

New Zealand

New Zealand's international students enrolment up 13% in 2014:

Data from Education New Zealand show a marked increase of 13% in international students numbers from 2013, an increase of 13,091 students. The turning point year for international students enrolment in New Zealand was 2013, when the government introduced new work rights for international students. Following up on this, the government also introduced improvements in visa processing and launched a highly successful campaign tagged "Think New".

New Zealand

New Zealand aims to double international students numbers by 2025:

Close to 100,000 international students chose New Zealand for their studies contributing NZ $2 billion (US $1.64 billion) to the economy and supporting approximately 32,000 jobs. This makes international education a significant export in the country and the government aims to double the value by 2025 to NZ $5 billion (US $4.1 billion).

The main source countries of international students to New Zealand are China (29.1%), India (15.8%) and South Korea.

Ukraine

Education reform continues to take shape:

The education reform package passed into law by the government of Ukraine on July 1,2014 has continued to improve the education system in the country.The law aims to align the education system of Ukraine with that of the rest of Europe and is a distinct break from the old Soviet centralised system. It provides for a simpler, less bureaucratic and financially autonomous higher education education system.

Within 1 year, since the law was passed the country has seen a dramatic reduction in the number of universities operating from 802 to 317 and some others have been downgraded to vocational education Colleges. Still more are expected to close as the government withdraws the operating licences of low quality institutions.

China

China now the world's third most popular study destination:

According to the US based Institute of International Education, China hosted close to 330,000 foreign students in 2012. This figure is surpassed by only the US and the UK. The Chinese figure represents 8% of global international students market.

A major attraction for international students to study in China is the opportunity to work during and after their studies. As of July 2013, international students are permitted to take part-time jobs during their studies, or to pursue internships off campus, so long as they obtain permission from both their host institution and the Chinese immigration authorities. 

India

India reports strong growth in outbound for 2014:

A new student mobility report finds that the number of Indian students going overseas was sharply up in 2014. This reverses a four-year trend of declining student numbers from India and given the current scale and growth projections for Indian outbound, sets up in an interesting competitive dynamic among the world's leading English-speaking destinations.

The report notes that roughly 85% of Indian students chose to study in five English-speaking countries, namely US, UK, Australia, Canada and New Zealand.

Indian outbound to Australia:

Australia was especially hard hit as total Indian outbound numbers declined from 2009. After four consecutive years of falling Indian enrolment from 2010 to 2013. Australia saw a 28% increase in Indian student numbers in 2014.

Indian outbound to the US:

The growth of Indian students in the US graduate programs has typically been uneven over time, but it has been sustained in the last two years. It is projected that India will have the most tertiary students in the world by 2024 (48 million) and this can only be good news for the US. US graduate schools increased their admission to Indian students in 2014 by 25% following a 27% increase in 2012/13.

Indian outbound to Canada:

Canada seem to have gained at Australia's expense as 75% of the 48,000 Indian students lost by Australia from 2010 to 2013 went to Canada.

Indian outbound to the UK:

The UK continuous to see its share of the Indian outbound market decline. Indian students accounted for 4.5% of total international enrolment in the UK in 2014, down from a recent year high of 9.5% in 2010.

Indian outbound to New Zealand:

New Zealand saw its Indian enrolment increase by 49% in 2014 to reach a total of 17,850 students. Along with Australia, New Zealand has also been a beneficiary of the UK's falling market share. This dramatic growth by New Zealand fueled an overall increase of 12% in international enrolment and if this trend continues, it is projected that New Zealand will surpass the UK in terms of total Indian enrolment by 2016.

India

India sees dramatic increase in outbound students numbers:

According to the IIM Bangalore report, Indian students prefer to study in the US and UK, as a majority of them choose these two countries as their preferred study destination.

However, the study found that students complain of high financial demands as well as tightening visa regulations as a deterrent in studying in the UK. Countries like Germany and France are expected to make gains at the expense of the US and UK. While countries like Sweden, Denmark, Italy and Ireland are becoming increasingly attractive to Indian students.

The study showed that factors that determine students interests are, costs of education, opportunity to work while studying and prestige of educational institutions.

Most students going abroad are at the graduate level, with business or STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) as the most popular courses. Majority of them rely on scholarships and other financial assistance to fund their education, the study shows that more of them are now taking on huge personal financial burdens and debts in order to fund their education.

The Netherlands

Increase in international students numbers:

The number of international students in the Netherlands grew by 61% between 2005 and 2012, numbering just under 70,000 in 2012. The majority of the students are from the EU, which also accounts for much of the growth in inbound mobility over those years. The main source countries of students to the Netherlands are Germany, China, Belgium, Bulgaria and Greece.

Poland

Poland launches strategy to attract international students:

Poland has set a goal to more than double its international student numbers to reach 100,000 by 2020. Though international students account for just 2.3% of total population in Poland, their numbers has increased markedly in recent years. Poland is aiming to host 100,000 students which is more than twice the present international student population.

The strategy is that the Ministry of Science will allocate EUR 57.5 million to funding international education programs, international summer schools, and language training. The country will also encourage universities to offer more degree programs in foreign languages and create more joint educational projects.

The strategy also encourages institutions to seek international accreditation and has earmarked EUR 112 million to attracting foreign researchers to Poland through the creation of both international doctoral programs and post-doctoral fellowships. 

France

New report recommends that international students pay full fees:

A recent study by Campus France has pegged the value of France's subsidy to international students studying in French higher education institutions to US $3.5 billion for 2013/14. There are signs that France is moving towards a new fee policy that will see international students pay full fees for their studies.

Most recently, a report from France Strategie outlined the country's context in terms of the global marketplace for education and as a major destination for international students. It also makes a detailed case for a full-fee policy for non-European Union students that would in turn support greater investment in internationalization of French higher education.