Published on 19/01/23 – StudyTravel Network
A strong performance for the UK’s higher education sector, a first agent event of the year, and a number of industry developments made for a busy and exciting week on the StudyTravel news desk.
There were no great surprises in the 2021/22 academic year data for the UK higher education sector. Regular student visa updates and surveys of agencies had suggested further growth was in story, and the 12.3 per cent increase set a new record high of 679,970 students.
And as expected, this growth came from EU students, with India, Nigeria and Pakistan in particular posting large increases. The reintroduction of post-study work rights in 2021 is surely a factor there.
2021/22 was the first year that EU students had to pay full international fees and could no longer access government-backed tuition loans. As such, there was a 52.9 per cent drop in first-year students from the EU.
The first ST Alphe Conference of the year is done, and what a fabulous event it was. Thank you to everyone in Malaga who came over to speak to the ST Magazine team; it was great to hear about all the activity going on as the sector continues its recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.
Prior to the welcome reception Spanish agency association ASEPROCE held a panel discussion on the relationship between schools and agencies after the pandemic.
Oscar Porras , President of ASEPROCE, led the discussion with Maite Mulet of TEC-Idiomes, S.L. ; Juan Manuel Elizalde of Kells College ; and Pablo Martinez de Velasco of Ad Astra Estudios Internacionales
Some of the challenges that agencies faced last year on accommodation will be very familiar to agencies in other countries and their partner schools.
But a few important questions were raised for the industry to discuss over coming months and years, including the suitability of traditional activity programmes on junior courses, oversubscription on some academic year programmes, clarity on the mental health of students, and expectation setting by agents in the changed post-pandemic landscape.
Talking of accommodation challenges, acute shortages of rooms in the Netherlands has led to the Education Minister calling on universities to pause international student recruitment activities, at least until next month. It is not clear how quickly a solution can be found.
Read our extended news feature on the Minister’s request, institutions’ response and the background of accommodation shortages and international student growth here.
The Netherlands has become an increasingly popular option over recent years, with an established pathway sector, high-ranking institutions, a range of English-medium courses and mid-range fees offering a cheaper alternative to many of the traditional destinations but still something to work with on the commission front. But students and agents need to be confident that the infrastructure is there to support them, and the country needs to avoid reputation damage from accommodation shortages.
Elsewhere this week there was plenty of activity, including: a major expansion across Asia from LTL Language School ; a new Toronto Pathway programme for Braemar College ; a new summer location for TALK English Schools ; a new school in Egypt for Inspired Education Group – Boarding Schools ; and growth targets reached for Malaysia.
Have a great week!
By Matthew Knott