London, Sep 11 (UNI) The number of new Indian students, starting higher education courses this autumn at the UK universities and colleges, has shown an 18 per cent increase from last year, a statistics released by the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service showed here.
The number of freshers has gone up to 1,581, 18 per cent more from last year, which would swell the number of Indian students to almost 27,000, second only to that of Chinese students, the statistics added.
It also showed overall, there has been a four per cent rise in the number of foreign students being accepted into Britain's universities through normal applications and clearing this year, that is, from 45,947 to 47,802.
The figures read sharp rises in the number of students arriving on the British campuses from other Asian countries, including Singapore (up 30 per cent to 965) and Hong Kong (up 4 per cent to 2,525).
Higher Education Minister, Bill Rammell, said, ''I am very pleased to see that England is still proving a popular destination for international students. It underlines the status of England as a premier league study destination, maintaining its world class reputation.
''These students will not only benefit from the excellent educational experience England offers, but also the opportunity to work in the UK for two years, following graduation.'' The British Universities, facing financial problems because the EU and the British students pay only 3,000 pounds a year, compared to the fee by foreign students, between 8,500 pounds and 12,000 pounds, welcome these overseas students. They receive about 12.25 billion pounds in fees from 351,470 foreign students.
The Universities prefer Indian students also because they are well disciplined and academically one of the best, as Chancellor Chris Patten of the Oxford University has opined.
''We want more Indian students because we want the best in the world to come to Oxford,'' Mr Patten said.
The university, which produced the likes of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia, had 257 Indian students on roll, ending the 2008 term.
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