There are 450,000 international students studying in the UK, and UCAS is the largest single channel for international recruitment – with over 70,000 international students (EU and non-EU) using its services to apply for undergraduate study each year.
The addition of MO University Assistant app to UCAS will set the UK apart in the international student recruitment market and support up to 150,000 students who start postgraduate courses in the UK each year.
MO started life three years ago as a scholarship search platform and has developed to provide personalised student support – matching students to postgraduate courses and enabling multiple direct applications, offering a complete profile of UK universities and colleges, as well as providing accommodation and employment tools, with tailored support in 15 languages.
Mark Felix, Commercial Director at MoneySupermarket Group, sits on the UCAS Board and will chair the new MO Board, which will be run as a wholly owned UCAS commercial enterprise.
Mark Felix said: ‘The UK is home to the world’s very best research, technical, and teaching universities, and international students bring not only £12 billion into our economy, but also provide immense social and cultural benefits.
‘International student recruitment is highly competitive and competitor countries have long been snapping at our heels to attract international students. If we are to deliver on the UK’s international education strategy to increase international students from around 450,000 to more than 600,000, business as usual is not going to cut it.
‘MO will see UCAS play a new and much greater role in attracting and supporting postgraduate students from around the world, by creating a single, easy to use and welcoming front door to UK higher education.’
Aaron Powell, Chief Digital and Data Officer at UCAS, who will act as Managing Director for MO in the UCAS Group, added: ‘Applying to university is the one of the most important decisions anyone will ever make. We know students make multiple applications to different institutions in different countries. We believe a single postgraduate gateway, under the trusted UCAS brand dedicated to UK higher education, will enhance the UK’s competitiveness, and provide students and agents with unrivalled support throughout their application journey.
‘For both students and their education advisers and agents, MO is a game-changer. The technology allows for a streamlined application process, eliminating the need to complete multiple applications across different forms, or spend hours searching for postgraduate courses information, scholarships, accommodation, and employment, in different places.
‘We are especially excited about the value MO will provide for in-country agents and advisers. It will free up their time and reduce the level of administrative resource they need to dedicate to the application process, so they can focus on advice and support for students.’
Myles Jardine, Founder of MO, said: ‘The UCAS brand is trusted by students, advisers, and agents across the world. With their expertise and connections across higher education, we believe MO can quickly establish itself as the one-stop, end-to-end, marketing, recruitment, and application platform that will fully support students in their journey to UK higher education, and better help UK universities attract and enrol more and more students from across the world.
‘Everything we’ve done at MO has about been about enhancing the support students have when making that life-changing decision to go to higher education in the UK. That’s why we are so excited by this acquisition by UCAS, as it is an organisation that has the same focus and passion for students that we have.’
Joe Thomsett, Strategy Lead from Co:Evolve Ventures, supported MO in its acquisition by UCAS. Joe Thomsett said: ‘We could see no stronger commercial fit for MO’s future than with UCAS. We believe a marrying of UCAS’ world-renowned expertise in the student admissions sector and their student-first mission and values were the perfect strategic alignment to best support MO’s vision.’
UCAS Press Office
01242 545 469
Notes for editors
UCAS, the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service, is an independent charity, and the UK's shared admissions service for higher education. We manage almost three million applications, from around 700,000 people each year, for full-time undergraduate courses at over 380 universities and colleges across the UK.
UK Unifyed Ltd and its application system, MO, has been purchased for an undisclosed sum and will be a wholly owned commercial enterprise by UCAS. Like the undergraduate service, there will be a fee for students/agents to use the app to make both single and multiple applications. A full pricing model will be released later in the year.
Co:Evolve Ventures is a small team of venture builders and venture advisers. For building, we aim to solve a specific problem, commercialise it, and pass it on. For advisory, we help with business strategy and development, investor readiness, and executive search.
The UK higher education market is worth an estimated £11.9bn to the UK economy in tuition fees and living expenditure, and each year almost 150,000 students from outside the UK start a postgraduate qualification.