The number of Bangladeshi students applying to universities in the UK this year has seen a hike of 9% compared to last year, according to official figures in London.
The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS), the UK’s centralized university application system, on Monday said 190 Bangladeshi students applied to undergraduate programs at universities across Britain this year.
The figures do not reflect the actual number of Bangladeshi students who will be able to successfully join these courses from September 2018. However, these figures reflect the attractiveness of the UK as a destination for higher education for Bangladeshi students.
The latest UCAS figures revealed the UK’s wider appeal, with applications from within the European Union (EU) also registering a hike in 2018.
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UCAS Director of External Relations Helen Thorne said: “The UK’s universities are highly popular with EU and international students because of the quality of the teaching and experience they offer.
“There are probably several factors influencing the increasing numbers of applicants from the EU and beyond. For example, the weaker pound makes the UK a cost-effective place to study.”
Overall, more than 100,000 EU and overseas candidates applied to UK universities since autumn. The number of EU applicants increased by 3.4% to 43,510, and the number of international applicants increased by 11% to a record of 58,450.
The figures come amidst an ongoing debate within the UK government over the removal of students from the annual migration targets, which critics believe prevents higher fee-paying foreign students from accessing the UK’s education system.
British Prime Minister Theresa May indicated a softening of her tough stance on the issue by admitting students do not have a long-term impact on migration figures.
During her China visit last week, May said: “There was a lot of abuse taking place in colleges – something like 900 colleges can no longer bring in overseas students because all too often they were being brought in to work, rather than for education.
“Once you see that abuse out of the system, students coming in for the period of their education and then leaving actually wash through the numbers – they don’t have a long-term impact on the numbers.”
University chiefs have been lobbying for the UK government to drop students from its overall migration figures in order to enroll more overseas students, who contribute significantly to the economy.
A report released last month highlighted that international students add £22.6bn to the UK economy annually, indicating an overall benefit to the country 10 times greater than costs.
The Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI) and Kaplan International Pathways released “The costs and benefits of international students by parliamentary constituency” report in an attempt to push the government to introduce more welcoming policies for international students to stem falling numbers in recent years.
According to Unesco, Malaysia, the United States of America, the UK, Australia, Germany, and Canada are the top overseas destinations for Bangladeshi students.