Bridging the Higher Education 'Support Gap'

HE Thinking | 17 Jan 2022

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88% of international students see the UK as a positive, or very positive, place to study. Yet, in a survey conducted last summer, over half of these students didn't feel ready to begin their course ahead of the academic year. 

This was a key finding from our partnership research carried out with our client at UCAS (click here to read more about the study). International students hold the UK's higher education system in high esteem, but they also feel that they do not have enough information to make firm decisions about their futures. 

So, what does this support gap mean for educational institutions and how can HE (higher education) professionals help bridge this gap?

Des Cutchey, managing director of UCAS International, commented:Challenges related to the pandemic, such as general uncertainty and changes to course delivery were, unsurprisingly, top of mind for these applicants. Having delivered a session on how to apply, as part of British Council’s Study UK activity at Dubai Expo just before Christmas, I can say this feeling was echoed strongly amongst prospective students.

“Our survey respondents were also worried about the financial impacts of studying and living in the UK, hesitant to leave friends and family, and continuing to await confirmations of their study offers before making a final decision on their destination of study.”


Where Next?

Coverage from our research with UCAS has been included in their new report 'Where Next?' 

The report investigates keys areas that both motivate and dissuade international students to study in the UK.

Key findings in the report:

The top factors motiving students to study in the UK include:

  • The desire to live in the UK (45%)
  • Teaching quality (43%)

The top barriers to entry include a lack of information on: 

  • Accommodation
  • Funding
  • Employment opportunities
  • Completing the student visa application

At least 30% of applicants across all routes found choosing accommodation and seeking funding advice to be challenging.

Therefore, institutions that offer further information and support around these areas will gain a competitive advantage in the international market. How can you build this into your strategy? 

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  • UCAS' new international postgraduate platform Myriad is seeking to diversify applicants to UK postgraduate courses.
  • Contact the YouthSight HE Research team for more information on your university's competitive positioning in the international market.

Media Coverage


UCAS x YouthSight: The Student Mindset

Webinar Series - Catch up on demand

In partnership with our client at UCAS, we launched a free series of insight webinar aimed to support HE professionals during challenging times. The series guides you through how your UG, PGT and prospective students are feeling and what they are looking for from those around them. 

All the previous webinar recordings and highlight blogs are available on demand...

View the complete series


HE Market Research Tools

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We offer research tools that are tailor-made for HE professionals, which take the stress and uncertainty off your shoulders - all available instantly and on a budget that suits your institution.

Find out the answers to your specific questions and challenges and apply them to your recruitment strategy to win over applicants. The tools offer: ongoing insight into the mindset of students, access to one-off reports, solutions to specific challenges or a few quick answers.

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