There has been a fall in the number of international students at English Universities for the first time in 30 years as students selected Australia and the United States instead, due to higher fees and stricter visa norms, as per some research findings.
The number fell to 307,205 in the year 2012 from 311,800 in the year 2011; it is being considered as the first fall in 29 years, according to an analysis done by the HEFCE (Higher Education Funding Council for England). This survey has also shown that there is an increase in students opting for other countries such as the US and Australia.
As per the HEFCE data, in the year 2011, higher education in UK accounted for 2.8 % of UK’s GDP and nearly 760,000 jobs.
The attempt to curb immigration, imposition of stricter visa rules and higher tuition fees accounted for the drop in overseas students to the UK, said HEFCE. No data is available for Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland which are having their own tuition fees.
Madeleine Atkins Chief Executive called for more study on this issue to know if there are any risks and if these risks impact on the financial position of English Universities and if so, these have any wider impact as well.
Atkins said in a statement that offering high quality education is important for the UK and that UK should engage with the rest of the world and benefit from it.
The data from the HEFCE also shows that the there has been a fall in students to UK from India and Pakistan, as internationals students are hindered by the tougher visa rules.
There is a target for the UK government to restrict the migrants to below 100,000 per year.
A spokeswoman from the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills said that international students have contributed a lot to Britain’s economy and cultural life. And this is the reason why there is no limit or restriction for legitimate students to study in the UK, she said in a press release.
However, some lobby groups at the Universities UK said it was a cause of concern to witness such a drop in the number of international students, while there was so much growing demand for higher quality education.
Universities UK chief executive, Nicola Dandridge, said Britain needs strategies which attract international students to meet the challenges posed by its competitor countries.