Many UK universities assume that a trend of increasing overseas enrolments will help their financial position, but there is now substantial descending pressure on student demand for higher education in the UK.
Modeling by PwC indicates that anywhere from 51% to 80% of UK universities could fall into a lack of international enrolments from 2024/25 onwards. Meanwhile, enrollment data for January 2024 shows that UK universities will lose friction this year in at least two of their most important source markets, India and Nigeria.
A new analysis from the international consulting firm PwC offers a worrying view of the extent to which UK universities are dependent on overseas student tuition for their fiscal viability.
According to the firm’s modeling, if international enrolments in UK higher education decline from their present level, more than half of universities in England and Northern Ireland could fall into deficit in 2025/26.
The report tallies with news that student acceptances and deposits made to UK universities through the platform are down by more than a third compared to last year. About 1 in 3 students who come to the UK do the same using Enroly.
UK Higher Education Financial Sustainability Report of PwC was commissioned by UK universities and is based on an analysis of “the 2022/23 regulatory forecasts (Annual Financial Return 2022 for England and Northern Ireland, and Strategic Plan Forecast 2023 for Scotland) of participating UUK members and assessing how those predictions would be impacted by certain sensitivities.”
Before exploring the PwC analysis, it’s important to note that recent data from Enroly shows that Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) issuance for the January 2024 intake of overseas students coming to the UK is down by 36% when compared to January 2023, and deposits are off by 37%.
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