Higher education institutions face a challenging time ahead. The sector is being disrupted by new technologies and ways of delivering services to students. But, this presents a major opportunity for universities to explore ways in which they can capitalise on this and discover new methods to engage with students, both current and prospective.

Some £3 billion2 in income was generated from tuition fees of international students in the UK in 2012-13. As such, the international market is a significant contributor to the bottom line of most institutions in the higher education sector. However, rising tuition fees in the sector mean expectations have never been higher. Students are now paying more for their studies and expect a more lucrative return on their investment.

Higher education institutions have seen increasing costs to support these student needs with many institutions investing in infrastructure, teaching and career support. Without transformation, there is significant risk as expenditure may outstrip growth in income. As university income streams shift away from government sources, institutions face a growing urgency to acquire funding through other means such as tuition fees and corporate activities3.

Additionally, there are challenges that are rooted in the changing political landscape. Although Brexit will have no immediate impact on the status or right to stay of staff or students from the EU, the long-term picture remains uncertain4.

Key stats1

£95 billion

contribution to UK economy


since 2011-12

£21.5 billion

contribution to GDP


jobs in the UK supported by universities