Russell Group response to Sunday Times article on international student pathways

27 January 2024

In response to the article published in the Sunday Times on 27 January 2024, a Russell Group spokesperson said:

"This article discusses International Foundation Year programmes at Russell Group universities. These are different to degree programmes, have separate admissions processes and, crucially, different entry requirements, which have been incorrectly conflated in the article.

"Our universities maintain high entry standards to their degree programmes to ensure that their offer remains of high quality, and that all students – whatever their pathway to university – are at an appropriate standard to study, both on entry and throughout their course. Universities maintain robust admissions policies to ensure an equitable and consistent process for all applicants.

"Foundation year programmes have long proved to be effective pathways to university for both international and UK students. Most of our members also run foundation courses specifically for UK students, with similar entry requirements, designed to support students from underrepresented groups to access higher education and bridge the gap between different educational backgrounds. Entry to main degree programmes from these courses is not guaranteed.

"The latest UCAS data shows domestic student numbers at Russell Group universities are rising faster than international student numbers. International students are an important part of our student body, bringing diverse perspectives that enrich the learning environment. Revenue from international students is reinvested into high-quality teaching and learning to benefit all students”.

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