In a significant development in global education, both Ireland and the United Kingdom are witnessing a substantial growth in international student enrolments. This marks the appeal and competitiveness of both countries as prime destinations for pursuing college degrees and higher education and signals the changing academic landscape in the region. Students from around the globe are taking advantage of transformative experiences, cross-cultural interactions and global networking opportunities offered by local universities, which are key to achieving individual holistic growth and fulfilling one’s educational journeys. Moreover, the post-study work options in the UK and Ireland are also attracting more people who are looking to leverage their education into practical experience and hone their career trajectories after completing their studies. These enrolment surges have a wide array of implications for international students.
Ireland’s soaring international student enrolment
The number of international students studying in higher education in Ireland reached a new high in foreign enrolment for the 2022-2023 academic year. Total foreign enrolment in Irish universities reached 35,140, marking a significant year-over-year growth of 11%. The substantial increase from previous years emphasises the increasing attraction of Irish higher education institutions to international students. The United States is the largest sending market to the region, accounting for 14.5% of international enrolments. Many students are also coming from India (13.5%) and China (11.3%), with other diverse nationalities making up the remainder of the foreign student population.
Ireland’s higher education institutions are actively promoting their appeal to international students which ensures varied representation from different nations, following a commitment to a broader community and allowing a more welcoming environment.
UK’s educational resurgence and challenges
The UK is a favoured destination for international students and the growing popularity among foreign students proves that. 22% of 10,000 prospective and current students are choosing UK as first-choice destination, marking an 18% increase from previous surveys in February and March.
In line with its growing popularity, the UK has been urged to provide more comprehensive and holistic educational experiences for international students. The country is proactively working on its programs to attract more international students while safeguarding crucial policies like the graduate visa route. For instance, the introduction of the Graduate Visa Route in 2021 allows international graduates to work for two to three years graduation after graduating in the UK. This, along with other post-study work rights opportunities, have led to a surge in non-EU enrolments, offering practical experiences and career opportunities for eligible students. These policy enhancements are designed to create an even more welcoming community for international students, providing additional financial support and a wider range of scholarships and incentives.
Tuition fees and job opportunities
UK and Ireland are both highly regarded for the quality of education and academic excellence they provide. Most undergraduate tuition fees for non-EU students in Ireland, range from €9,850–€19,500 or an average of €14,675. In the UK, the cost of undergraduate tuition fees for international students is between £11,400–£38,000 or an average of £22,200 per year (€24,780).
International students planning to study in the UK and Ireland can gain skills and knowledge that employers value. Professional services EY announces 1,000 new jobs in Northern Ireland over the next five years, opening up new and exciting employment opportunities. The UK also prioritises creating a clear strategy for international student employability that supports students and graduates. In this light, 3% of employers make use of the Graduate Route visa for employers to hire from UK’s rich pool of international talent. With this, international students can bring with them a range of skills and experiences, stemming directly from their studies and lived experiences in their home country.
To know more about study options and our partner institutions across Europe, feel free to check out our GSP platform and don’t hesitate to reach out to our Business Development Managers for more information.