European Union Students Studying in English Higher Education

Marian Morris, Simon Rutt, Helen Robertson

09 May 2008

Available to download from DfE

This study aims to identify the pathways, intentions and relevant perceptions of (non-UK) European Union (EU) students entering English higher education. It draws on longitudinal Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) data from 2002/03 to 2005/06 and from a national survey of (non-UK) EU students in English higher education institutions.

Key Findings

The analysis of HESA data found that:

  • there is a growth in the numbers and the relative proportion of young people coming from the Baltic States, Eastern Europe and late accession countries
  • business and administration studies appear to be the largest and fastest growing course, while the proportion of non-UK EU entrants to most Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects, law and languages are declining.
  • the probability of a non-UK EU student staying in England to take part in further full-time study is greater than that of their remaining to work.

The survey findings were that:

  • respondents choose to study in England because of its perceived strong economic climate and the reputation of English universities.
  • students from Eastern European countries and the Baltic States show most awareness of financial support and tuition fee loans and are significantly more likely to have applied for a loan than students from any other region
  • those who express most confidence in being able to pay back tuition fee loans are those with the highest levels of understanding of current financial mechanisms.

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