UUK Poll findings on International Students

Posted on 17th October 2016


UUK Poll findings on International Students

Universities UK poll public’s views on student immigration

The British public do not see international students as immigrants, and a majority say that they would not want to see numbers reduced, according to a new poll commissioned by Universities UK. The survey, conducted by ComRes, found that only 24% of British adults perceived international students as immigrants; 25% of those who voted Leave, compared to 23% of those who voted Remain. This negligible difference between both camps is perhaps surprising and bolsters the sector’s argument that cutting numbers of international students (both EU and non-EU) would not address the public’s overall concerns about immigration.

The public perceive that international students make an overwhelmingly positive contribution to the UK. 81% of those surveyed believed that students had a positive impact on their local economies and towns. 91% also believed that international students should be able to remain in the UK after they had completed their studies for a period, to use skills they had developed throughout their courses. 

International students are currently counted as immigrants in government statistics, despite calls from the sector and beyond - and even the efforts of Amber Rudd - to cut them out of the data. Recent government rhetoric on reducing numbers of international students has received criticism from figures across public life. As ever, we await the Home Office's consultation.

You can find the polling report here and UUK’s statement here.



Chief Executive of UUK on EU Students and England

14 October 2016

Of interest for EU students starting study 2016/17 and 2017/18


Chief Executive of UUK on EU Students and England

Dear colleagues

I am delighted to confirm that the government has just announced that EU students applying for courses at English universities in autumn 2017 will be able to benefit from the current system of loans, and the current level of fees, throughout the duration of their course. This announcement follows sustained pressure from UUK, and widespread support from universities and the media. The announcement only affects EU students at English universities. We are liasing with Universities Scotland and Universities Wales, and our two Northern Irish members, to secure a similiar, and speedy, assurance for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

This announcement by the government means that UUK has now secured three of our four initial short-term objectives. They were in relation to (i) Horizon 2020 funding (ii) matched ESIF funding and now (iii) fees and loan support for students starting in both 16/17 and 17/18. The programmes that start now whilst we are still in the EU will be protected on existing terms after we leave. Our fourth objective relates to the immigration status of current EU staff, and this is something we are continuing to pursue. 

Now we have this clarity on student fees, we can be confident and public in our external international messages that we welcome EU students and that their terms will be guaranteed throughout their time in the UK, notwithstanding Brexit.

Our press release responding to the announcement is set out below. We will be promoting this widely internationally.

Of course these are only our short term objectives, and we now move on to secure our medium and longer term aims for a favourable outcome for UK universities post-Brexit. In particular, in relation to the proposed damaging immigration reforms set out in the Home Secretary's speech last week, we are as a priority crafting a response that will achieve our aims of protecting the sector. We will be responding publically and effectively, but will do so in a way that is carefully and strategically timed, and targeted at what we are trying to achieve. As part of this, we will later this week be releasing and promoting some recent polling that we have commissioned which (yet again) shows that the overwhelming majority of the British public do not see international students as migrants.

Do get back to me if  you have any questions or comments about our approach.

Best Wishes


Nicola Dandridge, Chief Executive, Universities UK

To read the UUK Press Statement, please click here


Funding support for EU students

European Union students applying for university places in the 2017 to 2018 academic year will still have access to student funding support.


The status of EU nationals in the UK

There has been no change to the rights and status of EU nationals in the UK, and UK nationals in the EU, as a result of the referendum. (link to gov.uk)