Indian students' applications to UK universities up by five per cent (Photo: XAVIER GALIANA/AFP/Getty Images)

THE number of students from India applying to British universities has increased, dismissing concerns that Brexit would deter foreign students from studying in Britain.

Data from the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (Ucas) released on Wednesday (10) showed that a record number of applicants from outside the EU – 81,340 – have applied for UK higher education courses starting this autumn.

Although China continued its rapid growth with applicant numbers touching a record high of 19,760, the next biggest group of applicants came from India, with 6,210.

The number of young people from the UK applying has increased by 1 per cent, despite a 1.9 per cent fall in the overall 18 year old population of the UK. 275,520 young people have applied – up from 272,920 at this point in 2018.

The volume of EU applicants has risen 1 per cent, to 50,650. There is a record number of applicants from outside the EU – 81,340 students have applied to study in the UK, an increase of 8 per cent.

Welcoming the figures, the universities minister, Chris Skidmore, said international students bring huge cultural and economic benefits to the UK.

“These figures show we are making good progress in our ambition to open up world-leading higher education to anyone who has the potential to benefit from it and I’m confident that we can go even further,” Skidmore was quoted as saying.

Clare Marchant, UCAS’ Chief Executive, said: “The global appeal of UK higher education has never been clearer, with record, demographic beating application rates in England and Wales, and the steep rise in international applications, especially from China.”

The University of Manchester has the largest population of Chinese students in Europe, with about 5,000 Chinese students out of a total of just over 40,000.

“The university is well known in China,” Richard Cotton, director of student recruitment and outreach at Manchester, was quoted as saying.

“It’s partly because of the football,” he said.