The United Kingdom is leader in high-quality universities for international students, ahead of the United States, Canada, Australia, Germany and New Zealand, according to research released by the UK Higher Education International Unit at Universities UK.

UK leading in undergraduates study according to international students

It found that 85% of international undergraduates who study in the UK would recommend the UK university experience to others; the highest recommendation rate of all of the major English-speaking destinations.

UK universities have seen improvements in international student satisfaction across 75 of 84 measures. The report says that the UK has the highest satisfaction ratings among its competitors for all the dimensions of the student experience: overall satisfaction, learning, living, support and arrival experience.

“Notably it excels against its competitors in teaching and learning, with the highest rating for 15 of 23 measures of the teaching and learning experience, and has increased sUK universitiesatisfaction since 2007 in every single area of the learning experience,” the report says.

It also has higher satisfaction with the cost of living than its main rivals.

Universities and Science Minister Jo Johnson said the results show that international students “can expect a truly world leading standard of teaching and learning” when they come to the UK.

“International students are very welcome in the UK and play an important role in making our education system one of the best in the world. Our higher education reforms are putting students at the heart of the system, making sure that all students are getting a high-quality education wherever they are from,” he said.


Rising competition

However, despite the positive findings for the UK, the report noted that the UK’s market share of international graduates has stagnated over the period 2008-14. It also warned that more international students are weighing up several destinations when choosing where to study and there is “no doubt” that the sector is being “negatively impacted by current visa policies”.

“Rising competition from the ‘sleeping giant’ of the international sector, the US, is proving significant, as is the offer from Canadian universities,” the report says. “The significant fall experienced in recent years in Australian international undergraduate enrolments illustrates the potential fragility of this market.”

According to the report, in 2007-14, due to increased growth in international undergraduate student enrolments in North America, all other competitors except the UK went backwards in real terms. The US share rose by 52%, Canada’s by 20.2%, and the UK’s by 0.5%. But Germany, New Zealand and Australia experienced falls in their share of 18-22%.