UK Universities Deny Favoring International Students Over Locals

United Kingdom Europe Higher Education News International Studies Statistics by Erudera News Jan 31, 2024

University of Birmingham

Universities in the United Kingdom have denied allegations that they are favoring international students over British applicants, according to media reports.

Officials said it is not true that international students are securing admission with lower entry requirements compared to British students.

These remarks come following a report by the Sunday Times, which included statements of agents recruiting for Russell Group, the organization representing 24 leading UK universities, who said foundation courses offer simpler entry.

Foundation courses are one-year programs designed to help international students with English language and academic preparation for entry into a UK university, Erudera.com reports.

According to universities, such claims are false as the Sunday Times report neglected data on the increasing numbers of British students being admitted at Russell Group universities while unjustly comparing entry criteria for non-degree programs with those of traditional undergraduate courses.

The investigation indicates that international students were able to secure a place for a competitive degree course with just C grades at GCSE through the one-year courses, whereas local students were required to show an A or A* grade at A-level.

According to Vivienne Stern, the chief executive of Universities UK, the report failed to make a difference between entry criteria for international foundation courses and full degree programs, the Guardian reports.

Russell Group reacted to the report, citing the latest UCAS data, which shows that the number of domestic students at its member universities has increased faster than that of international students.

“Our universities maintain high entry standards to their degree programmes to ensure that their offer remains of high quality, and that all students – whatever their pathway to university – are at an appropriate standard to study, both on entry and throughout their course. Universities maintain robust admissions policies to ensure an equitable and consistent process for all applicants,” the statement reads.

The organization pointed out that revenue from international students is re-invested into high-quality instruction to benefit all students.

Last year, local media reports said that universities in the UK were sharply increasing the number of international students who pay higher tuition fees in an attempt to maintain their income levels.

Earlier last year, a former UCAS director warned thousands of middle-class British students might risk admission to UK universities due to the UK universities prioritizing international students who pay fees.

Most recent data showed the UK received a record number of international students in the 2022/23 academic year. A total of 787,000 international students enrolled at the country’s universities that year, up from 679,970 students in 2021/2022.

Photograph: Korng Sok/Unsplash (2022, March 3).

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