There are now almost as many Chinese students on full-time postgraduate courses at English universities as there are British students, according to figures published on Wednesday.
But the rising numbers of Chinese students masks a drop in the overall number of foreign students studying in England for the first time in almost three decades.
According to figures from the Higher Education Funding Council of England (Hefce), 23% of students studying for masters-level degree courses are from China while 26% of students are from the UK – a sign that English universities are increasingly replying on China to fill its courses.
“The degree of reliance on students from China at full-time masters level varies across the subject group,” Hefce said. The highest concentration is in maths, where Chinese students make up 58% of all international entrants, followed by 56% in media studies, 47% in business and management studies and 39% in engineering.