• Kia Fullerton

Universities face £460m loss from expected drop in east Asian students

UK universities have been told to prepare for a dramatic drop in the number of new international students coming in the new year, including a loss of up to £460m in income from students from east Asia.

A new survey of international students by the British Council, has found that nearly 14,000 fewer students from eight countries such as China, Singapore and Malaysia are likely to arrive to the UK in 2020/21 in light of the coronavirus pandemic.

The decline of 20% in students from east Asia would amount to a 12% fall in overall international student numbers, risking a £460m loss of income from tuition and living expenses such as accommodation.

"Prospective international students are facing a lot of uncertainty, but many are clearly trying to find a way to keep their overseas study plans,"said Matt Durnin, the author of a report for the British Council.

The survey also found that 29% said they were likely to delay or cancel their plans to study. A majority of postgraduate applicants said they would rather postpone the start of their studies until January 2021 than begin with online teaching in autumn, while 46% of undergraduate applicants agreed.

Based on the findings, The British Council argued that it may take three or four years for universities to recover from Covid-19.

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