10 useful facts about UK students

Here at Student Beans, we pride ourselves on knowing all about our student users, including the latest stats on studying and student life. If you want to get a better understanding of this valuable young audience, read on to find out some of the key facts you need to know.

1. Student power

There are over 2 million students currently in higher education (undergraduate or above) in the UK. This means around 1 in 23 adults are students, which makes them a very powerful group of consumers. Students are often living away from their parents and managing their own spending for the first time, which means their brand loyalty is up for grabs.

2. Wales is the one

Cardiff is the most affordable city for students to live in, according to Natwest’s Student Living Index, which compares the average living costs and monthly income. Predictably, London was near the bottom of the list, but much more surprising is the news that the least affordable student city is actually Glasgow.

3. An international education

The UK attracts more international students than any other country, except for the US. As of 2017, they make up 14% of undergraduates and 38% of postgraduates. International students help to fund our universities and give British students the chance to study alongside people from different culture.

4. A generation hungry to learn

In England, more 18-year-olds applied for full time undergraduate study in 2017 than any previous year. Research into Generation Z has shown they value education and judge universities based on factors such as availability of lecturers and on-campus resources.

5. Thinking ahead

The most popular subjects to study in the UK are medicine and business studies, showing that students are thinking practically about their future career prospects. Creative degrees are less popular, but art and design are among the most common choices within that area.


6. Beijing calling

21% of international students come from China - there are over 90,000 Chinese students at UK universities today. These students are a large, wealthy group who are likely to become influential business leaders in the future. The next biggest groups are from Malaysia, the US, India, Nigeria and Hong Kong, each making up 4% of the international student population.

7. Education doesn’t come for free

Students starting university this year will be required to pay fees of up to £9,250 per year. However, some universities offer lower fees as a way to attract more students to apply. There is no cap on fees for international students, but all universities charge them more than the fees for Brits.

8. Home is where the student is

There has been an increase in students choosing to live at home and commute to classes, instead of moving into student accommodation, especially those who live close to big university cities such as London. 328,000 university students chose to stay living in their family home in 2016.

9. Learners love London

The university with the largest student body is the University of London, which comprises several institutions including UCL, Kings College and LSE, and had a total of 161,000 students as of 2016. The second largest is the Open University, which allows students to work remotely, followed by Manchester University with almost 40,000 students.

10. It’s a girl thing

As of 2016, 56.5% of students attending UK universities were female. Interestingly, there is an even greater disparity between genders of international students. For example, 73.9% of students from Bangladesh are male, while 70.1% of Finnish students are female.

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