Funding for overseas study

03 May 2012

Dr Wendy Piatt, Director General of the Russell Group, said:

“Increasingly top graduates need to be able to work and compete in a global economy so we are pleased the Government has recognised the importance of international study for all students, including those not directly studying languages. We welcome the commitment to continue some financial support from HEFCE for student mobility and to widen this to exchanges outside of Europe. It is important that leading universities can support student mobility sustainably, and we will take a keen interest in the details as they develop.

“Russell Group universities give all their students the experience of working alongside the best students and staff from around the world and lead the way in giving students valuable experience abroad. Despite representing just 20 universities our students make up more than 40% of all UK students taking part in study and work placements in the Erasmus programme. They also lead the way in offering both undergraduates and postgraduates innovative exchange programmes with prestigious partners across Europe and the world. 

“University of Nottingham students can spend a term studying at the university’s campuses in either China or Malaysia. More than a fifth of UCL students - including medics, engineers, anthropologists and historians - spend some time at a university overseas during their course. Cambridge undergraduate engineering students can do a year’s exchange at MIT sponsored by industry and Imperial PhD students have the option of joint summer schools with leading universities in China, Singapore, Europe and North America.

“However, while better data on UK student mobility is needed, it is clear the UK as a whole still lags behind other countries both in Europe and further afield in developing global graduates.”

Notes to editors

  1. During the 2009/10 academic year, more than 213,000 students received ‘Erasmus’ grants but only 11,723 of them were UK students compared to with Spain (31,158), France (30,213) and Germany (28,854). Source: European Commission, Education and Culture Directorate General, 2011, accessible online at:
  2. The Russell Group attracts 17% of all UK undergraduates, 20% of other EU undergraduates and 28% of international undergraduates.

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