USA becomes third largest source of international students in the UK

According to 2015-16 data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA), the number of US students enrolled at British universities for their full degrees has risen to 17,115, the largest figure on record.

The total number of Americans enrolled at British universities has now overtaken the number of Indian and Nigerian students, making the USA the number three source of international students in the UK.

24 universities in the UK are now accepting applications through the Common Application, a US university admissions portal, making it even easier for Americans to submit applications for undergraduate study in the UK.

Four of the 24 universities are in Scotland, with Scottish universities accounting for 25% of all American students in the UK.

The Institute for International Education Open Doors Report also shows over 38,000 Americans studied abroad in the UK on short-term programmes. The UK is the most popular study abroad destination for US students in the world.

American students are able to use US federal student loans at many UK institutions, when scholarships are not available to fund their studies.

The news of an increase in US students pursuing UK study comes in the wake of a recent report showing the largest year-on-year increase in British students at US universities for over 30 years. A record 11,600 UK students were in the US during 2015-16.

Penny Egan CBE, Executive Director, US-UK Fulbright Commission, said: “For many years the admiration for our two higher education systems has been mutual and at the US-UK Fulbright Commission I am pleased to see this continues. Senator Fulbright’s vision of a world brought closer together through education lives on through these British and American students crossing the Atlantic.”

Emily Jones from California, an International Business undergraduate at the University of Edinburgh, said: “The opportunity to study at a university with a student body population composed of over 50 nationalities was incredibly exciting, and I am still excited every time I meet someone from across the globe. To this date, I have found that the most significant benefit from my British undergraduate education is the diversity I am exposed to every day. I’ve discovered new, creative ways of thinking that I hope I can share with others upon return to the United States.”

The number of Americans applying to British universities for their undergraduate degrees next year remains high, according to UCAS data published in February. 3,220 American students applied through UCAS for entry in 2017 so far, an increase of 19% over the last five application cycles.