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Friday 16 February 2024

115k overseas students apply for UK universities despite tougher rules to slash migration

The number of foreign students applying for places at UK universities has risen on last year, despite political pressure to bring numbers down amid soaring immigration statistics. According to new data, 115,730 people applied to come to UK universities, up from last year's 114,910.

The increase comes despite a Government crackdown on the number of family members - 'dependents' - overseas students are allowed to bring to the country when moving here to study.

The figures also come shortly after Universities UK were forced to launch a review of overseas students admissions, after revelations universities are offering foreigners significantly lower entry grades in a scrabble to rake in higher tuition fees.

In January, The Sunday Times revealed that course demanding A or A* A-level grades for British students are allowing overseas students in with just C grades at GCSE.

Foreign students pay up to £38,000 a year, compared to the mere £9,250 for UK students.

Today's statistics show a record-high number of applications from non-EU countries.

Chinese applications are up by 3.3 percent, however Turkey (37 percent) and Nigeria (45.7 percent) stand out as some of the largest increases.

In November last year, it was reported that Rishi Sunak wanted to restrict the actual number of foreign students coming to Britain and taking "low quality" degrees.

However eventually the changes merely restricted the number of dependents foreign students could bring to the UK, amid concerns such a crackdown could bankrupt universities.

The Russell Group of universities has claimed that the Government's refusal to increase UK student fees in line with inflation, and cuts to teaching grants, means universities are actually losing around £2,500 per domestic undergraduate.

Vivienne Stern, chief executive of Universities UK, has criticised the "ongoing negative rhetoric" around foreign students, and said it poses a problem for universities.

She argued: "Income from international students is no longer providing an additionality that allows us to invest over and above what we would be able to do with just domestic sources of income".

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