21,000 Nigerian students in the UK

21,000 Nigerian students in the UK ; Foreign students there contribute 6 billion pounds to UK economy

There are over 21,000 Nigerian students in the UK, according to new figures released by that country’s government. In addition, it is estimated that overseas students add around £6 billion to the British economy. New analysis of student numbers for 2007-08 suggest there were 513,570 international students – counted on the basis of those holding a foreign passport – rather than the 389,330 overseas

students living at foreign addresses. The discovery suggests UK universities have been even more successful at attracting overseas students than they thought – and more dependent on their fees, which are often much higher than for home students. Adding nationality to the mix, which universities had to include for the first time in data they submitted in 2007-08, means the number of overseas students at UK universities is much closer to the estimated 623,805 at American universities. Under the new method of counting students, the number of Nigerian students in Britain almost doubled, while the total from Zimbabwe rose by a factor of four. Previously, the top five non-EU countries sending students to the UK in 2007-08 were China (49,090), India (27,905), US (21,985), Nigeria (12,680), and Malaysia (12,435). When students’ nationality is counted, the numbers rise to 55,185 for China, 35,245 for India, 24,020 for the US, and 21,010 for Nigeria, while Pakistan sends 13,515 students.

The research also shows that postgraduate courses are dominated by overseas students. They make up more than 80% of graduates on business and administration courses and more than 70% in social studies and biological sciences departments. The British Council claimed the UK was rivalling the world leader, the US, in international student recruitment as a higher education destination. The Higher Education Statistics Agency, which collected the data, had previously focused on domicile, or the country in which students lived when making their applications. The increased figure now also includes people who have lived here for several years and hold a foreign passport, but give a UK address when applying to university and pay home fees. For instance, these might include students that applied while studying at British boarding schools or took English language or foundation courses in the UK. Others applied for places on postgraduate programmes after graduating from their degree course in the UK. Many of these international students were previously classified as home students, despite paying fees as international students. Pat Killingley, the British Council’s director of higher education, said: “It is only now that we can see the full picture showing the extent of the UK’s success in global recruitment to higher education, particularly from some of the world’s most important emerging economies. “We have believed for some time that we have many more international students in our universities and colleges than were being counted.” She said the figures showed the UK was challenging the US in the market for international students, who brought “enormous” economic and academic benefit and helped build positive relationships with people around the world.