Perceptions of the UK’s unique Higher Education offer – views from international students

A new report published today by IFF Research, conducted in partnership with UK NARIC, aims to uncover current international opinion of the UK’s unique qualification offer, including the existing provision of one-year Master’s courses and the possible increased future provision of Accelerated Degrees.

The report provides unique insights into how international students perceive UK qualifications. In collaboration with UK NARIC, via their unique database of individuals around the world seeking educational services, we have been able to evidence current international attitudes and perception of UK HE qualifications.

Key findings from the Perceptions of the UK’s unique Higher Education offer – views from international students are:

  • 59% of the international respondents had not heard of Accelerated Degrees
  • Once introduced to the concept, 44% said they would consider studying on an accelerated programme
  • 56% of respondents believe the government in their home country does recognise a UK one-year Master’s degree

Lifelong learning

In late 2017 the UK Government launched a consultation into the provision of accelerated degrees. There is little existing evidence to suggest that accelerated degrees would appeal to international students. Advocates of this new type of higher education provision suggest that studying for a UK degree in a 2 rather than 3-year period would appeal to a broad spectrum of students, including mature students who want to retrain and enter the workplace more quickly, and those who do not take a traditional A-level route into higher education.

Headline findings from key regions
The research highlighted potential demand for accelerated degrees from individuals in the following region/countries. Survey participants gave an above average positive response when asked if they would consider studying for a UK fast track degree:

  • Sub Saharan Africa (62.23%); Zimbabwe (73.7%), Nigeria (59.2%), Ghana (53.8%);
  • Brazil (65.5%)
  • The Philippines (58.3%)

‘The perceptions towards the UK higher education system highlighted through this research are a useful reminder that even those who would choose to study in the UK are not always certain that the final qualification will be recognised in their home country.

While recognition in the home country is only one of many factors in deciding where to study amongst international students, a greater focus on the international acceptance of UK qualifications would support increased student recruitment.’

Paul Norris, Deputy Managing Director, UK NARIC.

‘Our study has shown UK Higher Education qualifications are still held in high regard internationally. It has also revealed a significant opportunity for the sector to provide access to qualifications in response to contemporary education and employment needs. Communicating the benefits of accelerated degrees, including potential cost and time saving, whilst maintaining UK quality standards, is key’.

Elizabeth Shepherd, Director, IFF Research.

IFF’s Elizabeth Shepherd will be presenting findings from this report at its launch at the UKNARIC2018 annual conference in Westminster today.

Access the full report here