Sheffield Vice-Chancellors Warn: Int'l Student Limits Threaten UK's Economic Growth

United Kingdom Europe International Studies Higher Education News by Erudera News Oct 02, 2023

Sheffield, United Kingdom

Two vice-chancellors have said that the restriction on the number of international students in the United Kingdom threatens the UK’s most successful export, higher education.

In a blog post, the University of Sheffield Vice-Chancellor Koen Lamberts and Sheffield Hallam University Vice-Chancellor Chris Husbands, said that any cap on international student numbers would hinder the economic growth, Erudera.com reports.

Additionally, Lamberts and Hallam said that capping the number of international students in the UK jeopardizes the leveling up agenda and efforts to regenerate the main streets in cities throughout the country. That, they said, is particularly critical for South Yorkshire, where the contribution of international students is crucial to the employment of hundreds of individuals.

“Fewer international students would also adversely impact the quality of education that both domestic and international students currently benefit from. It would reduce the diversity of perspectives, which is important for any good education, and it would further reduce the funding available to universities to provide this education and world-class research,” they wrote.

According to Lamberts and Husbands, the plan to reduce the number of international students is a “nonsensical move” that will damage communities, the economy, and cultural opportunities.

Sheffield is among the UK cities with the largest number of international students. Over 29,000 students from more than 150 countries study at the University of Sheffield alone.

According to a new report published by Universities UK, international students in Sheffield Central contributed a net £273 million to the economy in the 2021/22 academic year.

“Not only do they help to create jobs and support Sheffield’s shops, businesses and restaurants, they enhance the education and experiences of all students, contribute to vital research and add to the cultural vibrancy of our city. I’m proud that students from across the world choose to study in Sheffield and I know that our city will continue to welcome them,” Paul Blomfield, Sheffield Central MP said earlier this year commenting on the benefits international students bring to Sheffield.

The report released in collaboration with the Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI), Kaplan International Pathways, in collaboration with London Economics, revealed that overall, international students contributed £41.9 billion to the UK in the 2021/22 academic year.

The same highlighted that in England the majority of international students settle in London (98,825 students), while others are distributed across:

  • Yorkshire and the Humber - 31,360 students
  • The West Midlands - 29,750 students
  • The Northwest - 27,680 students
  • The East of England - 24,835 students
  • The East Midlands - 24,235 students
  • The Northeast - 18,715 students
  • The Southwest - 9,700 students.

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