A new survey of over 100,000 students planning to attend university abroad has discovered that the UK’s successful vaccine rollout makes the country more appealing to students, with 47% of them stating they would be more likely to study at British universities because of vaccination rates.
The report from university rankings provider QS, found that the UK was more popular than the US, Canada, Australia, and Germany.
In addition to nearly half of all prospective international students stating they would choose the UK as their study abroad destination, almost a fifth of those surveyed (17%) said they thought the government was handling the vaccine rollout better than anywhere else.
Commenting on the poll, QS said “The effectiveness and speed of the rollout is making the UK seem a more attractive and viable destination to begin their studies in September compared to other countries.”
A large percent of students (58%) also thought the UK was becoming more welcoming to international students as a whole – largely thanks to the reintroduction of post-study work visas. However, European students view the UK as a less welcoming due to the launch of higher international fees because of Brexit.
Vivienne Stern, director of Universities UK International (UUKi), said the survey showed UK universities had remained resilient over the course of the past year but that the government would need to listen closely to students concerns.
Despite coronavirus infection rates, applications from overseas students into the UK reached a new peak last year but some have been angry at paying such large fees when most of their classes have been online. In March, over 300 students at universities in London withheld their £29,000 fees in protest.
56% of all international students surveyed said they would be focusing their search for a study abroad destination on countries with successful vaccine programmes. Meanwhile, 17% said their plans to study abroad had been brought forward thanks to the development of vaccines.
A significant proportion of students (45%) thought the UK had handled the coronavirus pandemic poorly compared to countries like New Zealand, Canada, Australia, and Germany.
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