Archives for posts with tag: international students

LSE Geography Dept 1986Recently we heard again of the North-South divide that dominates educational opportunities in England. Data obtained by the Guardian via a freedom of information request suggests that 30% of the candidates admitted to Oxford and Cambridge in 2012 came from just ten Local Education Authorities (LEAs) – all of which are in the country’s south-east. Geography, concludes the newspaper’s Richard Adams, needs to be added to “complex mix of race, sex, social background and school that have dogged admissions to the UK’s elite institutions.”

These figures point to the unequal structures that shape and condition access to higher education in Britain. Good schools, clustered near the global metropolis of London, and attended by members of the urban middle classes with their financial and cultural capital, offer students significantly better chances of admission to the nation’s elite universities.

But the data obtained by The Guardian is misleading in that it excludes another group of students who constitute an important source of Oxbridge admissions – those from abroad. Indeed, the figures used by the newspaper do not even include applications from students in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Putting overseas applicants into the mix casts a slightly different light on what Alex Niven has called Britain’s “geographical apartheid”.

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On 4 July this year, the government’s student visa restrictions came into place. The new rules limit the number of dependents students can bring with them, curb their work entitlements during study, reduce their ability to stay on after they graduate, and require them to demonstrate a proficiency in English on arrival. They also impose stringent new conditions upon organisations seeking to gain ‘highly trusted’ sponsor status.

Despite the fact that the international student market is estimated to be worth £40 billion to the UK economy, these measures are aiming to reduce the numbers of foreign students coming into the country each year by up to 80,000 (or 25%).

The madness of this policy in a time of austerity has been highlighted by Nick Jordan among others … but the impact the changes will have on university recruitment is not yet known … read the rest of this post at

The British government’s clampdown on overseas student visas is another spectacularly short-sighted coalition policy. But visa restrictions should not be the only thing worrying British universities. The range of factors that make up student experience are destined to become ever more important in the global market for international students.

Overseas students have been a welcome source of income for British universities in need of additional income. The average of £20,000 a year they pay in tuition fees and expenses has been used to subsidise British and EU students whose £3,290 a year only goes part of the way to covering the costs of their education.

By far the majority of these students come from China and India. But the competitiveness of British universities in international league tables and the global importance of English is not enough to explain the attractions of the UK, which is second only to the United States as a provider of higher education to foreign nationals. These students also come to Britain because of an historical legacy that may be about to expire. read the rest of this post at …

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