Russell Group response to data on tuition fee income from China

08 May 2024

Responding to media reports on levels of fee income from Chinese students at UK universities, a spokesperson for the Russell Group said:

"Universities’ fee income from international students is reinvested into high-quality teaching and research to benefit all students. This income is important to cover the significant and growing deficits in the funding system for home students right across the UK, which has left the sector vulnerable to shocks.

"Our universities recognise that building a diverse international intake is important to financial resilience and are actively working to diversify student cohorts. Government policy choices such as the reintroduction of the Graduate Route visa boosted Russell Group efforts to recruit in new markets, and in the last five years our members have seen increased growth in students from India, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and a range of other countries.

"Unfortunately, early data this year suggests that recent changes in government rhetoric and policy, including the ban on postgraduate taught students bringing dependants, are having an impact on international student numbers. Further restrictions, such as changes to the Graduate Route visa, could further threaten diversification efforts and the sector’s financial resilience. As well as limiting opportunities for talented international students, this would result in less spending in local communities, fewer opportunities for domestic students and less UK research."

For more information about international students at Russell Group universities, see our International Students and Fair Admissions briefing

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