Four of London’s universities have been included in the top 30 world rankings. Imperial College London, University College London, the London School of Economics and King’s College London made the list compiled by the Times Higher Education.
The capital has performed its best to date. Imperial College ranked eighth, UCL was 14th, LSE 23rd and King’s 27th. London’s mayor, Boris Johnson, said he was “incredibly proud” to see the result.
Placing so highly amongst the world’s top 200 universities is a glowing plaudit for the capital’s higher education establishments. The wider UK has 34 of the world’s top institutions, making it a desirable location in Europe for tier three education.
For London itself it ensures the capital continues to attract excellent students from all over the globe, adding to the city’s international flavour and prestige. It ensures the city itself retains its title as the world’s top university city. Boston and New York have three universities in the top 50, Paris, Sydney, Beijing and Hong Kong each have two.
LSE’s ranking was boosted in 2015 by a shift in emphasis on the criteria for rankings. Reflecting on the quality of institutions focusing on areas outside of life sciences, as well as research, it has helped to emphasise the broad specialism of LSE.
What does it mean for London? Firstly it means being home to a growing student population, providing accommodation and places to stay are vital. Clarendon has found in recent years that an increasing number of international students are looking to serviced apartments for a “home from home” while they stay in the capital to bypass the traditional student property or halls of residence. This suggests students are looking for somewhere central, safe and secure which has a range of amenities during their university stay.
It also provides an opportunity for business to attract a wealth of potential international candidates looking for jobs fresh from graduation. Graduates often earn lower salaries than experienced hires but have a proven return on investment. They contribute over £1bn to the UK economy, according to figures. It’s easier for businesses to shape and mould the experience and knowledge of graduates into the kind of employees they want while graduates often bring new thinking straight from academia, helping to keep businesses fresh.
So there’s an opportunity but also a challenge. Students are a vital ingredient in the vitality of London life, yet the city also has to be able to keep them and encourage them to stay so their talents can be filtered into the business market. Universities also have to stay attractive, relevant and desirable. Being in the top world rankings provides a challenge to stay there permanently and to always better oneself, but it’s a good problem to have!