The changing significance of EU and international students’ participation in Scottish higher education

Reports & Briefings
Clare de Mowbray

This paper examines the significance of students coming from other countries to study at Scottish higher education institutions. Higher education is more important to the Scottish economy than is the sector to England or the rest of the UK. It is for this reason that demographic differences in the student population between Scotland and the rest of the UK are particularly important. Unless there is a large and sustained increase in the higher education participation rate, the number of Scotland - domiciled students studying at Scottish higher education institutions will decline in the future. This means that to maintain the overall size of the student population in Scotland, an increasing share of students will need to come from outside Scotland. This includes students from the rest of the UK, students from countries of the European Union, and students from countries that are not part of the European Union. Such students have largely been responsible for the growth in student numbers over the past decade and are likely to become even more important in the decade to come.