British universities are facing a £2.5 billion tuition fee gap this autumn due to their reliance on international students that pay higher tuition fees than their domestic counterparts. With many Chinese students expected to delay or cancel their plans amid the coronavirus crisis, universities are looking for solutions to avoid course cancellations and job losses.

The growth in students attending universities in the UK over the past decade has largely been driven by international students from non-EU countries, with Chinese students forming 37% of the non-EU postgraduate cohort in 2017-2018.

With many of these students expected to delay or cancel their plans to study in the UK due to travel restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the cancellation of English proficiency exams in China – a requirement for new students to study in the UK – universities are now being presented with the prospect of course cancellations and job losses as a result of the funding gap. 

Furthermore, with our world-renowned universities involved in the hunt for a coronavirus vaccine, it’s vital that any funding shortfall is filled to ensure this crucial work goes ahead. 

How is the Government responding?

The Department of Education is currently in talks with the higher education sector to try and limit the number of students each university can recruit in September, in the hope this will reduce competition that could lead to bankruptcies should some institutions fail to admit enough students. 

However, a report published by University College London suggests that a cap could be ineffective, as many students from both the UK and abroad are prepared to take a year out amid the coronavirus crisis. It is therefore crucial that universities work hard to recruit the small number of prospective students looking to enrol in September.

How MTM can help? 

MTM are experts in university marketing and have helped institutions throughout the UK recruit and retain new students. 

Utilising our MARKETLED University platform we provide unique market insights that tell you where to find the right prospective students, how to reach them and most importantly, what’s important to them.

This enables your admissions and marketing teams to target their efforts more precisely to attract pockets of students that match your values – widening participation, increasing admissions, and improving conversion.

To find out more about how MTM can help plug your admissions gaps for September, please contact our Research Director, James Leggett, today for an informal chat.