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Numbers of International students studying in UK Universities are down for the first time in a sustained period, according to recent reports. The decline in numbers has not been seen for almost three decades, with figures published showing a dramatic 25 percent slump in the number of full time EU undergraduates alone.
Experts are putting this obstructive decline down to the introduction of the new fees system, with charges up to £9,000 a year. Statistically, the numbers across the UK are down from 23,440 to 17,890. The divisions arrive regarding EU students in that, although they are on the same footing as UK students with regards to tuition, they do not have the same entitlement to loans, thus potentially greatly escalating their overall cost in coming to undertake study upon English shores. This is not helped by the fact that a vast majority of courses in other European countries are significantly cheaper than their UK counterparts, according to the report, therefore providing many tempting propositions.
In addition to this, the percentage of international postgraduate students in English universities has declined by one percent between 2010/2011 – 1,000 students – with a dramatic fall in applications from India and Pakistan, which is only partially offset by a rise from China. The issue is much more widespread however, with not only undergraduate studies the affected party concerned. On overseas enrolments, both undergraduate and postgraduate courses report a decline in enrolments from India and Pakistan, where complaints about tighter restrictions on visa to the UK to study have been most vociferous.
With these developments in mind, this could bare significant impact upon on university life here at Lancaster. The University outlined its plans to SCAN: “Lancaster is looking to increase international and EU student numbers in a planned way to ensure the right mix of students on campus. Between 2012 and 2013 the number of international students registered has increased by eight percent”.
The importance of international studies is also a big factor upon the educational experience of the student body as a whole. This was something the University acknowledged: “Having a diverse mix of international students adds to the vibrancy of our community and enhances every student’s experience whether socially or academically. It provides for different perspectives and new approaches to problems in the classroom and gives our students the opportunity to be exposed to other cultures, ideas and lifestyles.
“There is a risk that future growth will not materialise at the level forecast and any reduction could have a major impact on institutions financial positions.”
Lancaster’s current students however seem content with their position and their decision to come and study at one of the UK’s leading educational establishments. International student Hanna Larsson, first year Marketing student, told SCAN: “I am happy with my choice to come and study at Lancaster. The rise in fees is a negative factor for all students but my time spent at Lancaster will be worth it after obtaining my degree”.