MEDIA: Drive to attract overseas students to Edinburgh

Interesting article in The Times this week about a £100,000 initiative with the four Unis in Edinburgh to attract international students to this fair city.

As I mentioned in a previous blog, Universities Scotland kicked off a ‘Scotland Welcomes the World’ initiative recently, to show students from around the world why studying here is indeed a tip-top idea.

The Times article in full below:

Universities are launching a joint marketing campaign to attract overseas students as they seek to overcome fears about the damage that Brexit has caused to the UK’s reputation.

The initiative, believed to be the first of its kind and backed by about £100,000 of investment, is promoting Edinburgh as a place to study as well as pointing out the city’s cultural and leisure attractions.

The move comes at a time when the academic sector in Scotland has concerns about how Brexit will affect student recruitment in coming years.

Figures from UCAS, the university admissions body, this week showed a 5 per cent drop in applications from students from the European Union, the first decrease in six years.

Overseas students usually pay much higher fees than domestic students and a fall in numbers could have serious implications for university revenues. There are fears that certain courses may no longer be viable and the brightest students will be less likely to consider studying in Scotland.

Marketing Edinburgh, the organisation dedicated to promoting the city, has come up with the new campaign in collaboration with Edinburgh, Napier, Heriot-Watt and Queen Margaret universities.

John Donnelly, chief executive of Marketing Edinburgh, described the work between the academic institutions as a leap forward.

He said: “It is quite difficult as often they might be competing against each other to get students in, not just in Edinburgh but with all other universities. But they all saw the value of a much more integrated approach to promoting Edinburgh as a place to study.” The overseas markets being targeted are Thailand, Malaysia and Saudi Arabia. The United Arab Emirates airline Etihad is also involved.

A dedicated website,, has been set up with videos and case studies giving an insight into student life in the capital.

Mr Donnelly said that many people in academia were nervous about the impact of Brexit, but the sector could not afford to stand still until there was more clarity.

“There are question marks around the European funding and whether people will want to come and study here,” he said. “We are known for world-class teaching, but the standard of living is just as crucial for those considering where to study. Students are sold on the city as much as its academic offering.”


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