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Source: The Pie Date: June 18, 2024

For the sixth consecutive edition, London has been named the world’s best student city in the ranking by global higher education analyst QS.

QS Best Student Cities considers the rankings, student mix, desirability, employer activity and affordability of university cities and the 2025 iteration saw London take the top spot as the world’s best student city, as it has done since 2018.

Tokyo, Seoul, Munich, Melbourne, Sydney, Paris, Zurich, Berlin and Montreal rounded off the top 10 list.

Cities such as Sydney and Montreal were among those in the top 10 to rise in the ranking year-on-year, with Sydney moving from spot seven to six and Montreal making its way into the top 10 – climbing three places from 13 to 10.

Sydney benefitted from improved performance in indicators such as Employer Activity and Affordability, while Montreal improved within Student Mix, Employer Activity, and Affordability.

Other key findings revealed Delhi to be India’s highest ranking city, while Cairo was crowned Africa’s best student city.

When it comes to cost, Izmir took the lead as the most affordable city.

London, one of 16 UK cities ranked, was awarded its prime position for its “world-class higher education landscape” – which includes two universities in the world’s top 10, the highest number in the world, alongside Boston.

The UK capital scored highly for its university quality – some eighteen London universities are featured in the most recent QS World University Rankings.

Seoul dominated the World University Rankings indicator, with its 23 ranked universities.

Meanwhile, London’s on-campus diversity and educational excellence earned glowing reviews from current and former students.

London universities also excelled in QS’ Employer Reputation indicator, with 11 out of 18 improving, one remaining unchanged, and six declining.

The capital’s universities performed exceptionally well in terms of their proportion of international students, with 11 out of 18 ranking among the world’s top 50 and an additional three among the world’s top 100.

Meanwhile, London’s business environment was proven as remaining excellent for graduates. In the Employer Activity indicator, it leaped to fourth globally – compared to eighth last year – signalling ample career opportunities for graduates in the city.

“For London to retain the title of world’s best student city for six uninterrupted editions shows just how the UK capital and its world-leading universities keep on delivering an exceptional experience for students from across the globe,” said Diana Beech, CEO of London Higher.

The news comes shortly after a recently relaunched campaign by London Higher set out to show the cultural diversity and inclusivity of the capital, and by extension the wider UK, while setting the record straight on some misconceptions about studying the city.

Meanwhile, Jessica Turner, CEO of QS, said London’s recognition as Best Student City of 2025 is a “celebration of its role as a premier destination for education, innovation, and cultural vibrancy”.

Akanksha Kumar, is an international student from Mumbai, India, and is coming to the end of her time as Student Union president at City, University of London. Kumar spoke to The PIE News about the ways her study experience in London lived up to her expectations.

“I love that I can walk down the street and listen to ten different languages. One of the best things is that you can see and hear and taste the diversity,” said Kumar.

“One thing London does is if you get knocked down, it picks you back up by itself. Every time you feel like you’re missing out on an opportunity, the next one is right around the corner.”

Despite the UK’s success as a whole, Turner has concerns over the UK maintaining its appeal amid changing visa regulations.

“At QS we are concerned about how long this success will last given the tighter visa regulations for international students introduced since January.

“These changes have led to a significant decline in student applications. Over 50 UK universities have already confirmed staff redundancies due to the drop in international student numbers and the declining real-terms value of domestic tuition fees, and this troubling trend continues to affect more institutions.

“It is imperative for our country to maintain its appeal to international students, which is crucial not only for the vitality and financial resilience of our higher education institutions but also for the enrichment of our society as a whole,” said Turner.



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