The UK remains a popular choice for Chinese students

18 February 2021
Posted by Katie Meehan

Growth in application numbers from Chinese students to UK Universities

  • Chinese student applications to UK universities up 21%.
  • Move reflects policies such as post-study work visas and free access to vaccines for Chinese students.

Figures from the UK’s Universities and Colleges Admissions Services show the UK remains a popular choice for Chinese students, with applications for leading British universities up by over a fifth. 

Applications from China to UK universities grew by 21 per cent to 25,810 applications (up from 21,250 last year). This means Chinese students are one in ten of all international students in the UK.

Responding to the news, Chief Executive of leading international education provider Study Group Emma Lancaster said:

“We are delighted to see this increase in applicants to UK universities from Chinese students who have long been drawn to this country by its broad range of globally respected universities and the high quality education they provide. Chinese students who study pathway programmes to undergraduate and postgraduate degrees at British universities go on to success in such challenging subjects as Law, Engineering and Business, as well as courses that lead to degrees in Medicine.

“Key to this success is a focus on excellent teaching and an understanding of the needs of Chinese students specifically. Our Chinese students really enjoy being part of their local and university communities while sharing their own food and culture. The welcome they feel is genuine and we are committed to ensuring they all of our Chinese students are safe, happy and well-supported.”

Jazreel Goh at the British Council also believes British higher education continues to be very attractive to Chinese students due to the reputation for academic quality in UK universities: “It's about pursuing quality and pursuing a good reputation and pursuing a good graduate outcome for the students,” she says. 

A 2020 survey published by one of China's largest educational firms, New Oriental Education, found that 42 percent of Chinese students would choose the UK as the first country in which to study abroad, with 37 percent of students choosing the US. This was the first time the UK had overtaken the US as the top destination for Chinese students in the survey.

Study Group is the leading provider in international pathway programmes.

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