Attracting overseas students

04 February 2019

In a letter to The Times, Dr Tim Bradshaw on why we should re-double efforts to attract international students.

Sir,

I regret that the Pakistani graduate referred to in your article (“Chinese universities are catching up fast”, Jan 30) did not rate his time at a UK university. A recent survey of over 365,000 students at 800 universities around the world ranked the UK number 1 for student satisfaction at undergraduate and doctoral level. 86% of international masters students said they would recommend their experience here.   

These students are hugely important to UK universities. Not primarily for their fees, as Emma Duncan claims, but for adding profoundly to the cultural diversity of campus life and for the ideas they bring that enrich the learning environment.  They also help the UK build stronger partnerships with countries around the world. Partnerships that will become even more important when we leave the EU.

Where the author and I agree is on the need to redouble efforts to attract these students. Recent years have seen the UK fall behind competitor countries such as Canada and Australia, where numbers continue to grow steadily. Removing international students from the UK’s net migration target would send a more welcoming message and enhance our appeal. Better opportunities for international students to transition to skilled work in the UK once they complete their studies would be game-changing.

Dr Tim Bradshaw,

Chief Executive of the Russell Group

 

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