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Key facts

6.3% increase in overseas fee income in 2015-16

1.4% increase in overseas student numbers in 2015-16

Overseas fee income

Tuition fee income generated from overseas (non-European Union) students in 2015-16 rose by 6.3 per cent (£175 million) compared with 2014-15 to approximately £3.8 billion.

By comparison, total overseas student numbers increased by just 1.4 per cent (3,300 students) to 234,000 compared to the previous year.

This highlights that the rise in overseas income is largely due to increases in the fees charged.

As a percentage of tuition fee income, overseas fee income declined from 26.3 per cent in 2014-15 to 25.5 per cent in 2015-16.

Price sensitivity is a key factor in a competitive global market and there may be a limit to the extent to which fees can be raised further, even with the recent weakening in sterling. A significant risk to the sector is the impact a decline in overseas students would have on associated fee income and the longer-term financial sustainability of institutions. 

Page last updated 27 June 2017