Universities in the UK advertise and recruit high numbers of international students and have been accused of perceiving them as “cash cows“. Recent statistics by Universities UK reveal that the proportion of students coming from outside the EU has increased from 9% in 2004-2005 to 13.5% in 2013-2014.
The report follows complaints about universities who are taking in international students, who pay 20 – 30% more than students who are living in the UK, without the required level of English. However, it is predicted that these numbers will fall as immigration hurdles are putting off potential international students who want to study in the country, but may travel to America, Canada or Australia instead.
In 2001-2012, international or non-EU students contributed £7.2 billion to the UK economy, which was made up of tuition fees, accommodation and spending off-campus. However, the National Union of Students (NUS) expressed concerns that foreign students are perceived as ‘cash cows’ or used as ‘scapegoats’ as the conservative government tries to bring migration numbers down. Shadow Chancellor George Osborne indicated that students may become excluded from official migration numbers.
NUS international students‘ (NUS) officer, Mostafa Rajaai stated: “NUS is deeply concerned about the treatment of international students… whilst institutions spend a lot of time and energy getting international students through the door, their experience once at university can be drastically different to what they were promised”.
“Many universities and students’ unions run programmes and events to make international students feel welcome. But this does not outweigh the fact that the pay significantly more than home students and are often subject to yearly fee rises” Rajaai added.
Matthew Rob, a higher education expert at Parthenon Group, warned that: “UK students will end up paying higher fees because currently, international students subsidise their fees. Elite universities could also fall down the rankings because they are not investing in research as they others would and in the long term we would lose out on our soft power and influence”.
A study by the Times Higher Education (THE) found that 106 universities spent £86 million recruiting international students in 2013 – 2014, or the equivalent to £1,767 per student, which has increased by 16.5% two years previous.
University of Sheffield, University of Glasgow and Cardiff Universityuniversities spent more than £6 million from 2011 – 2014 on recruiting international students. Whilst the University of Coventry spent the most at £10.2 million to recruit 5,634 students according to data obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.
A spokesman for the University of Coventry said that the figures “included substantial non-agent related costs, and therefore do not represent the university’s spent”.
The average tuition fee paid by an international student from outside the EU in 2014 was £11,289 a year to study in the UK.
What are your thoughts on international students paying more to receive the same education?
Are you an international student who studies in the UK and found the experience different to what you expected?
Let us know below!
Join the 75,000 students that have already found their future career by taking our short 60-second degree quiz. Find out what you're like and what you could do, by discovering your strengths, personality, what you're passionate about, and some jobs and degree subjects that may be perfect for you!Take Uni Degree Quiz