Nearly a quarter of Britain’s masters students are Chinese

British university masters programs are increasingly dominated by students from China, who now make up 23% of the total enrollment, according to a new study on English higher education—only narrowly behind the 26% of students who are British.

Of the 144,760 overall post-graduate students in Britain overall, 40% are British. Chinese students are a close second, about 21% of the total, and their ranks increased by 9% from the 2011-12 to 2012-13 school year:


More than half of the Chinese masters students in Britain (52%) are studying management or business studies, a group that includes the Chinese tourist who was kidnapped this week in Malaysia, shortly after she was accepted into a graduate program in the UK. Many of them may are going abroad because of a dearth of high-quality universities in their own country. Among China’s wealthiest families, Britain is the preferred destination for higher education, ahead of the US and Canada.

Despite the prevalence of foreign-born students, foreign enrollment in British colleges and universities actually dropped for the first time in 29 years during 2012-2013, after the country passed tough new visa rules for students from India and Pakistan. The number of Indian students decreased by 26% and students from Pakistan dropped 20%.

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