UK B-Schools Say International Recruitment Is Plummeting

UK business schools

Sixty-one percent of UK business schools responding to a recent poll said they were significantly below their international postgraduate recruitment target for the January intake, with another 17% moderately below

Three-quarters of UK business schools are reporting falling international student enrollments, as fears grow across the sector about falling overseas demand and resulting financial damage. A report published by the Chartered Association of Business Schools pinpoints the UK government’s immigration policies as a core factor.

According to a survey by the organization of its members, non-European Union international enrollments for the January 2024 intake were down at three-quarters of responding institutions compared with 12 months ago.

On recruitment from the EU, 41% of business schools responding reported lower enrollments.


“Business school deans are concerned about the perception that the UK is now perceived as a hostile environment for international students, with nine out of 10 respondents agreeing that recent government policy announcements were having an adverse impact on their school’s ability to recruit international students,” said the Chartered ABS. “The ban on dependents, delays to visa processing and the forthcoming review into the Graduate Route were commonly cited.”

The declines were most concentrated at postgraduate level, where 60% of responding schools said that non-EU international enrollment was “significantly lower” than last year. A further 17% said that it was slightly lower.

Sixty-one percent of responding business schools said that they were significantly below their international postgraduate recruitment target for the January intake, with another 17% moderately below. Seventy-one percent of respondents were either moderately or significantly below their EU postgraduate recruitment target.


The results are likely to be a cause of concern for universities, since business schools are typically a significant source of income for their parent universities. A Chartered ABS survey published last November found that an average of 59% of business schools’ net income goes to their parent institutions. However, 92% of deans stated that their school was “to some extent reliant on international student fees to ensure financial viability.”

Robert MacIntosh, chair of the Chartered ABS and pro vice-chancellor for the School of Business and Law at Northumbria University, said: “These latest results show the potential for the government’s immigration policies to severely damage one of the UK’s most successful exports.

“The decline in international business student enrollments will limit a vital source of universities’ income which underpins the cost of teaching and research across subject areas far beyond business and management.

“Whilst we support a robust and fair student visa system, regressive policies on international students puts universities’ financial sustainability at risk at the very time when they are responding to rising costs and falling real-terms fees from UK students. Not only is our international prestige and soft power abroad under threat, so too are the jobs and the local economies which thrive around our great universities.”


Questions about this article? Email us or leave a comment below.