Almost 700,000 international students were enrolled for study at UK higher education institutions during 2021-22, with over 120,000 of these students coming from the European Union (EU) while about 560,000 were non-EU students, according to statistics from the Higher Education Statistics Agency.

Chinese students made up the largest group of international students with 151,690 studying in the UK in 2021-22, followed by 126,535 students from India and 44,195 from Nigeria, as the Techloy chart below shows.

Over one-third (37%) of non-UK domicile postgraduate students were studying Business and management subjects, while a further 19% were studying Engineering, technology or computing, the data shows.

Other key highlights:

  • New enrolments from Nigeria grew faster than both China and India, reaching 32,945 in 2021-22, up by 130.9% from 2020-21.
  • French and Italian students remained the two largest countries from the EU with 11,870 and 11,320 students respectively studying in the UK in 2021-22.
  • In 2020-21, new enrolments from China fell for the first time in HESA recorded data (2007-08), but in 2021-22, new enrolment numbers returned to slight growth, up 0.8% from 2020-21.
  • Total student numbers from Southeast Asian countries like Hong Kong and Malaysia also increased during the year, following modest decreases in recent years.
  • Nigeria and Bangladesh were the fastest-growing countries with new enrolments from these two countries increasing by 107.4% and 90.5% respectively.
  • The total student population from key North American sending countries, the USA and Canada, both increased in 2021-22 following small decreases in the previous year.