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Wednesday, 11 April, 2001, 07:21 GMT 08:21 UK
Chinese students choose UK
Foreign students have been urged to apply to the UK
The number of students from China applying for places at universities in the UK has more than doubled in one year.

In 2000, just 1,136 applications were received, in comparison to 2,280 this year, figures from the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (Ucas) showed.

There are some very successful UK higher education recruitment fares in China every year

Ucas spokesman
There was also a 20% rise in the number of students applying to the UK from India, from 629 in the year 2000 to 757 in 2001.

The British government had been encouraging universities and colleges to recruit more students from overseas and many ran strong marketing campaigns, a spokesman for Ucas said.

"There are some very successful UK higher education recruitment fares in China every year, which are very popular.

"The UK has a strong reputation in China and is continuing to open up to Western influences," he said.

'Enriching student life'

British universities had much to gain from a rise in the number of foreign students, the spokesman said.

"Having students from different cultures studying alongside each other helps to enrich student life.

"And there's also a financial incentive, because these students pay the full tuition fees," he added.

European downturn

But the Ucas figures also showed that - with the exception of Spain, which saw a small rise in applications of 0.2% on last year - the number of students applying from Europe has dropped, as much as -29.9% in the case of Norway.

European downturn on last year
Norway -29.9%
Greece -28.8%
Republic of Ireland -23.9%
Sweden -16%
France -14.3%
Italy -11.6%
Finland -3.8%
Germany -1.5%

Source: UCAS
The Ucas spokesman said this was because there had been major investment in higher education in many European Union countries, lessening the incentive to come to the UK.

Despite this, the statistics indicated that the number of people applying for university and college places in the UK generally was continuing to rise.

By 24 March 2001, a total of 373,261 people had applied for full-time higher education courses starting in autumn 2001 - up by 2,881 on the same date last year.

More mature applicants

Chief executive of Ucas, Tony Higgins said: "The increase in the number of applicants is great news for higher education".

"There is a rise not just among the under-21 age group, which makes up the majority of applicants for full-time courses, but also among mature students aged 21 to 24," he said.

The number of applicants aged 25 and over was also very encouraging, he added.


There was also an increase in the number of applications completed online.

A total of 79,939 people - who applied by 24 March - used the electronic application system, compared to 36,566 last year.

Business studies, computer science and law remained the three most popular subjects and there were big increases in the number of applications for degree courses in nursing, media studies and software engineering.

Teaching degrees less popular

However, the figures highlighted a decline in applications for teaching, pharmacy, marketing and engineering undergraduate courses.

The Higher Education Minister, Tessa Blackstone, said the figures showed the demand for higher education was rising.

"They suggest that we could see the highest ever number of accepted applicants this year.

"I am particularly pleased by the 1.3% increase in mature student applications," she said.

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See also:

26 Jan 01 | Education
E-applications to universities rise
19 Jun 00 | Education
Leg-up for poor students
18 Aug 00 | Education
Course scramble in clearing
29 Aug 00 | Education
'No panic' over university places
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