Reports indicate that top universities in the United Kingdom need to recruit international students unless there is a corresponding increase in tuition fees. This challenge comes after Suella Braverman’s recent announcement, which underscores the removal of rights for international students to bring their dependents. A measure explicitly aimed at influencing net migration figures. Notably, these regulations are sweeping in scope, affecting all students except those engaged in research programmes.
In a significant move earlier this year, the UK government declared a freeze on tuition fees for the academic years 2023/24 and 2024/25, maintaining the fees at £9,250 for the sixth consecutive year. Acknowledging the financial hurdles faced by individuals, Minister for Higher Education, Robert Halfon, assured that the government is actively working to ensure the availability of loans and grants to support living expenses.
Complicating matters further, the Russell Group, a group of 24 leading universities, expressed deep concerns about the projected funding reaching its lowest point in this millennium. This group suggested that if tuition fees remain frozen in the next academic year, universities may find themselves compelled to intensify efforts to recruit more international students to offset financial challenges.
Recent data reveals a noteworthy increase in income for UK universities, with approximately 20 percent now attributed to international students. This marks a significant shift from a decade ago, when international students contributed only 10 percent to the universities’ income. Despite the challenges, the United Kingdom continues to be a highly sought-after study destination, attracting 679,970 international students in the academic year 2021–22. Among these, 120,140 were from the European Union, and 559,825 were from non-EU countries. Chinese students constituted the largest group, followed by 126,535 students from India in the same academic year.