Student accommodation bookings show UK students set to fill international shortfall

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According the latest bookings data from student accommodation provider Host, UK students are proving increasingly intent on starting university life in September in spite of the disruption caused by coronavirus.

The data, which covers almost 6,000 students that have already signed up to live in 35 student halls that Host operates across cities in the UK in September, shows that UK students currently account for 50 per cent of all bookings, up 5 per cent on last year’s figures.

This upturn supports separate data recently released by Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) that revealed that applications for university courses from UK-domiciled 18-year-olds were up 2.6 per cent, with the number of students deferring falling by 4.1 per cent, from 14,230 to 13,640.
Host’s data also reveals that whilst student accommodation bookings from outside the UK have fallen as a combined percentage as international students re-consider their plans in light of the global pandemic, the numbers from some countries are holding up well.
Bookings from China, which alongside India accounts for the largest number of overseas applicants to UK universities, are currently on a par with last year, representing 22 per cent of all rooms booked with Host, with the proportion of students coming from Hong Kong up by 50 per cent from last year.
In terms of interest from EU students, the data is inconclusive but bookings from major countries such as France, Germany and Spain are marginally down as a percentage. Whether this is due to the health crisis or Brexit is open to debate.
Based on current bookings, Host will be accommodating students from more than 100 countries and every continent from September across its 35 locations, including students from Kyrgyzstan, Guatemala, Laos, Mozambique, Ethiopia and Faroe Islands.
John Ripley, Operations Director at Host, says: “Considering the unprecedented uncertainty caused by the global health crisis and the impact this is having on young people at key stages of their lives, it is encouraging that students are showing a resilient attitude towards moving away from home to study and continuing their higher education journey. We expect more students than ever before to wait until they have their grades this year before applying through clearing so the full picture is not yet clear but our number of bookings are not too far off what they were at this stage last year.”