LONDON: The UK capital is by far the most attractive destination of choice for Indian students coming to study at British universities, rising from third place in 2018-19 to become the second-largest international student market for London in 2019-20.
According to new data released by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA), 13,435 Indian students are enrolled at London universities, up a massive 87 per cent on the previous year's 7,185 students.
The latest data has been dubbed "an impressive period of growth" for India, after falling to fourth place in 2017-18 before rising to third place the following year. "These new figures are a resounding confirmation of the status of London's world-leading universities," said Lalage Clay, Director of Education and Talent at London & Partners (L&P) - the Mayor of London's international trade, investment and promotion agency.
"The astonishing growth of Indian students choosing London demonstrates the great opportunity that studying in the UK's capital unlocks, alongside the option to remain in the UK for two-years post study. Whether it's fashion or financial economics, accountancy or art history, prospective international students know when they choose London, they are choosing a first-class education and a cultural experience like no other," she said.
China maintained its first place in the ranking with 29,940 students, while the US dropped to third with 7,245. For India, the 2019-20 figures demonstrate an "unprecedented" 152 per cent increase on 2017-18 levels.
"Applications by Indian students may have been encouraged by the reintroduction of the two-year post-study visa for international students by the UK government, allowing overseas graduates a longer period of time to look for employment after their studies," the L&P notes.
Overall, the data shows 55,465 Indian students enrolled across higher education institutions across the United Kingdom, with England being the dominant region for these students followed by Scotland and then Wales and Northern Ireland.
The statistics from HESA, the designated higher education data body for England, show that the total number of international students at London's universities has risen to 135,490, up 8.4 per cent on last academic year to the highest level on record.
This also marks an uplift in overseas students in London for the seventh consecutive year, which L&P says reflects the UK capital's growing appeal for prospective international students.