How best can we reduce the number of students coming to the UK?

Cameron’s coalition wants your views. Cameron et al. want to reduce the amount of migrants to the UK, and have identified international students as a problem. Rather than coming, studying, and then buggering off back home again, some of them come here wanting to bring their families with them (shock), to work whilst studying (gasp), and some even arrive with a view to settling here once they finish (horror). One of the problems is that some of those pesky foreigners aren’t studying on degree level courses, and can’t even speak English properly. (They’re called ‘language courses’, Dave.) Whilst Cameron et al. want to continue attracting the brightest and the best students to our universities (and then ensure they leave promptly afterwards), they want to tighten restrictions to ensure it’s mainly these people who can come. In essence, they want to make student visas harder to obtain. You can read more from Cameron et al. here. I’ve skimmed the documents – I’m already late for work – but I couldn’t see any economic analysis of the costs and benefits of these foreign students. I can tell you two things, however, from working at a Russell Group University: (i) foreign students are a big source of university income; (ii) whilst Cameron et al. want to continue attracting students to such universities, the current visa requirements caused problems for three students that I know of, this year alone. They eventually arrived, but missed over half the term, due to visa complications. That might not seem like a lot of students, but a philosophy department isn’t a big place.

7 thoughts on “How best can we reduce the number of students coming to the UK?

  1. i think i recall cameron saying (in a q&a with students on his visit to china) that international student fees aren’t going up even if resident fees do. so, international students won’t be cash cows anymore. and that’s all that matters, right? (i’m sure all the oxbridge applicants will still get in.)

  2. pfft…How about offering a sub-standard education, so pesky students won’t WANT to study there? Damn you, Philosophers, STOP WORKING SO HARD!!! :)

  3. Don’t the new proposals *rely on* graduates staying in this country (rather than going back home), to pay off their fees in a sort of graduate tax, when they’re earning over the threshold?
    So why doesn’t Cameron want foreign students to stay here? Really?

  4. My God, I just went and looked at the survey linked to above. It is atrociously biased. For example:

    “9. What changes do you think we should make to the Tier 1 Post Study Work route? [i.e. the route that allows students on study visas to stay on for employment in this country]

    Close the route entirely
    Restrict it significantly

    But no other options!

  5. @Anonymous 3 – international students aren’t eligible for student loans, etc.

    @extendedlp – this fact means that international students will still probably be cash cows. At the moment, the number of Home and EU students is capped by the government because they subsidise them. There is no cap on internationals because they are not subsidised. It’s extremely likely that the cap on student numbers will stay for the time being because the government has to finance the loan scheme for them. But since internationals are not eligible for a loan, it’s also likely that there will be no cap on their numbers, so again, universities are likely to be trying to attract them as a means of boosting their income. Internationals will also still pay more than Home and EU students – under the most recent proposals, universities will be allowed to charge up to £9,000 a year, if they can show they are widening participation. Internationals currently pay over £10,000 a year for an Arts and Humanities course, and over £14,000 a year for a Sciencey-subject.

    Anonymous 4 – yes, indeedy.

  6. The ‘consultation’ survey is so ridiculously engineered to give them the answers they have already decided on that I don’t think anyone who didn’t already agree with government would bother taking part.

    I agree with what has been said above, I think the one issue that is missing from the discussion here, and that helps pull the public towards the governments racist views, is that of the mickey mouse ‘colleges’ that are really just fronts for immigration.

    Now I’m in favour of free movement so they don’t bother me but I think they make it harder to win the people over on issues of making things easier for foreign students. I also feel sorry for anyone who signs up for ‘Oxford Collage UK’ expecting poshness and ends up @ their ‘manchester campus’ in a grotty tiny building in my rather grimy Manchester suburb.

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