The Dark Side of UK Undergraduate International Experience: High Costs and Fees

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The Dark Side of UK Undergraduate International Experience: High Costs and Fees


A new research study reveals that the cost of living and tuition fees are negatively impacting the value and overall experience of studying in the United Kingdom for international students. The Advance HE/HEPI Student Academic Experience Survey 2023 highlights the concerns raised by students regarding the financial burden associated with pursuing higher education in the UK.

According to the survey, 50% of EU undergraduate students in the UK expressed that their studies have been moderately affected by the high cost of living, while 27% stated that it has significantly impacted their educational experience. Similarly, 43% of international students from outside the EU reported that the cost of living has had a slight impact on their studies, with an additional 27% indicating a significant impact.

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High Cost for International Students’ Studies

The director of HEPI, Nick Hillman, stated, “There are many positives in this year’s results, which show the post-pandemic recovery is well underway in higher education. But the survey also shows the cost of living crisis is not just shorthand for rising prices – most students are being affected in adverse ways.” Hillman further emphasized the importance of policymakers taking into account students’ feedback and concerns highlighted in the survey results.

The survey, in its 17th edition, gathered responses from 10,163 full-time undergraduate students studying in the UK. Among them, 1,679 were international students, with 876 from the EU and 803 from other parts of the world. The findings revealed that 35% of EU students consider their student experience to be of good or very good value for money. Similarly, 38% of international students from outside the EU shared this sentiment. However, the research indicated that the value-for-money perceptions for international students closely align with the overall average, which stands at 37% for all students.

While the cost of living was a significant factor contributing to a negative perception of value for money among domestic students, it was not the predominant driver for international students. Among EU students, 48% attributed their poor perception to tuition fees, while 39% of international students from outside the EU cited the same reason.

The research also examined the levels of well-being among students, comparing them to the general UK population. The report highlighted that students’ well-being has consistently fallen below that of the general population. The survey found that EU students reported more positive levels of well-being compared to the overall student sample, particularly in terms of happiness and low anxiety. However, their well-being still lags behind that of the UK population.

In response to the findings, Tim Bradshaw, the chief executive of the Russell Group, acknowledged the resilience of students but acknowledged the negative impact of the cost of living crisis on their studies. Bradshaw called for additional government support and urged policymakers to address the flaws in the maintenance loans system and increase financial assistance for students.

Universities UK also expressed concern over the negative impact of the cost of living crisis on students’ university experience. They emphasized the need for government intervention to increase the amount of maintenance support available to students, despite universities’ efforts to provide hardship funding and other forms of support.

The survey results shed light on the pressing issue of the cost of living crisis faced by international students in the UK. It is crucial for stakeholders to listen to students’ concerns and collaborate to create a sustainable academic experience that ensures high value in the long term.

Date and Time: June 22, 2023

Source/Attribution: THE PIE NEWS

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