Overseas students sourced by NCUK are generating hundreds of millions of pounds in revenue for universities worldwide. Read on to understand why NCUK’s market share is expanding and how higher education institutions benefit from partnering with the organisation

NCUK is unique in international higher education. Each year, our partnerships with our universities and delivery partners enable thousands of international students to start their educational journey locally or overseas in the UK and Ireland.

Our qualifications are designed to provide students with the academic and English-language skills required to progress to leading universities worldwide, ready to succeed in their chosen degrees.

NCUK is the wholly owned subsidiary of the Northern Consortium, a charity founded in 1987 by a group of forward-thinking universities in the North of England to facilitate access to education for international students. Since then, NCUK has helped more than 35,000 international students to progress to universities worldwide.

Our pathway qualifications are designed with and for our university partners and delivered through our global network of more than 90 quality assured delivery partners, spanning more than 30 countries across five continents.

We offer a range of pre-university, undergraduate and postgraduate qualifications exclusively designed for international students. One key strength of our qualifications is our English for Academic Purposes (EAP) module. Integrated within subject study, this module has been designed to ensure that academic language development occurs alongside subject study to support students’ subject knowledge development, rather than being a stand-alone English language module. This provides students with the real experience of using and understanding academic English language to ensure that they are fully prepared for the transition to an English-medium university. Our EAP module is also widely accepted by our university partners for visa purposes in lieu of IELTS (or equivalent), saving students time and money on sourcing alternative proof of English tests.

Not only do NCUK qualifications enable students to progress to universities in the UK, US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, they also fully prepare them for when they get there. Some 90% of our students get into their first-choice university, and 80% go on to achieve a first- or second-class degree at university.

NCUK university partner logos

Due to our unique relationships with our university partners, our students can progress to thousands of undergraduate and postgraduate degree courses. Our University Course Finder tool contains more than 9,000 degree courses and their entry requirements, allowing students to search for university degrees quickly and easily without having to visit individual university websites.

Typical offshore university partnerships between an overseas institution and a university provide international students with a route to one university, a one-to-one model. Our unique collaborative partnerships provide routes to more than 45 universities worldwide through our global network of 90-plus delivery partners across over 30 countries – a one-to-many model. This means that international students can choose to start their journey to university in their home country (or nearby) or the UK and Ireland and progress to a wide range of leading universities in the UK, US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

Furthermore, our dedicated student support teams provide our students with expert advice on their university options and support them throughout the entire university application process, including visa support and university accommodation application. This ensures that university applications are completed accurately and submitted on time, reducing the workload for the admissions staff of our university partners, saving them from returning incorrect or incomplete applications.

Last year, we processed more than 10,000 university applications to our university partners worldwide. By working closely with our universities and delivery partners, we provided students with a range of flexible study options, enabling them to continue with their journey to university through a global pandemic. These efforts resulted in a 13% increase of students progressing to an NCUK university partner, compared to 2019.

In addition to widening access for students to progress to university overseas, our students who finished their qualifications last year generated approximately £25.7 million in tuition fee revenue for our university partners and will generate more than £72 million in tuition fee revenue over the duration of their university courses. These students also generated more than £34 million in qualification tuition fees for our delivery partners worldwide.

Collectively, NCUK students from the 2019/20 academic year will generate more than £106 million for the NCUK global network (universities and delivery partners) over the duration of their NCUK qualification and university degree.

In December 2020, NCUK announced its innovative partnership with Education New Zealand (ENZ) and all eight New Zealand universities, allowing students to begin their study towards a New Zealand education at home. This unique partnership, backed with more than NZ$300,000 in scholarships a year, provides more opportunities than ever before for international students to access a world-class education.

NCUK’s market development director, Georgina Jones, said: “We are delighted to have been chosen to support New Zealand’s universities via our global network of delivery partners. This partnership enables our network to provide additional routes throughout the academic year, increasing the number of opportunities for international students to access leading universities worldwide.”

ENZ chief executive Grant McPherson said the partnership is a first for New Zealand: “It’s the biggest university sector international education collaboration to date, and it’s the first time that the government has facilitated international students beginning their New Zealand study offshore.”

In addition to providing routes to all New Zealand universities, NCUK has also increased its university partner network globally, which now consists of more than 45 universities in the UK, US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia and the Caribbean.

The wide variety of popular university study destinations is one reason why students from over 100 nationalities choose to study with NCUK each year.

However, NCUK’s success is not attributed just to the quality of our academic qualifications and our excellent university partners; it’s thanks to our global network of delivery partners. We partner with schools, colleges, universities, governments and investors globally and work together to build a successful pathway for students locally and internationally.

Our delivery partners are supported with our value-added services, including:

  • Academic quality management
  • Full teaching syllabus, assessments and external moderation
  • University applications service
  • Business development and marketing support.

Our flexible delivery models can also route into multiple university intakes throughout the year, providing opportunities for country-specific pathways, such as a New Zealand pathway to meet local market demands and allow you to become the focal point for progression to New Zealand.

If you would like to find out how your institution can benefit from joining the NCUK global network to become a delivery partner or a university partner, please visit our website and get in touch with us today.


About NCUK

NCUK is a leading international higher education qualification and service provider with over 30 years’ experience. We are a consortium of universities that has helped more than 35,000 international students to progress to study at our universities in the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the US.

We offer a range of undergraduate and postgraduate degree pathway qualifications delivered through our quality-assured global network of more than 90 delivery partners spanning five continents. NCUK also offers students an English for Academic Purposes programme, an English language pre-sessional and an exit test for visa purposes.

Our primary objective is to recruit, develop and support international students to get into university and succeed when they get there. For more information about NCUK, please visit www.ncuk.ac.uk or contact [email protected]

Date published: 5 May 2021