In response to funding constraints, tighter student visa requirements and a rapidly globalising marketplace for higher education UK universities are increasingly looking overseas for expansion.
When the UK Border Agency last year tightened controls on international students coming into Britain it prompted an increase inthe number of UK institutions looking to establish overseas. The restriction on overseas students coming to the UK, particularly from India, has had a major impact on university revenues. In response universities are taking the approach that if the students cannot come tothem, they must go to the students.
The number of students from outside the EU coming to study at UK universities has fallen for the first time, with a particularly dramatic drop in the number of students coming to the UK from India and Pakistan, according to official figures. 20 Jan 2014.
The Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) found a 1% drop between the number of non-EU students enrolling in universities across the UK between 2011/12 and the last academic year, 2012/13. While there had been a 6% increase in the number of students arriving from China and a 15% increase in those arriving from Hong Kong, the number of new Indian students fell by 25% while new students from Pakistan fell by 19%.
A recent study from The Higher Education Better Regulation Group (HEBRG) claimsconfusion over a new student visa system saw UK universities spend £67m in 2012/3 in order to meet the new Home Office requirements.This represented an increase of £27m from previous estimates and HEBRG claim the confusion is found over what was required and the “constant rule changes” as universities sought to comply with the new rules.
The Home Office said it had revamped student visas to tackle abuse. The Tier 4 points system for student immigration was launched in March 2009 with a primary aim of controlling the entry of International students to the UK. Under the new system, higher education providers must adhere to strict guidelines and undertake accurate record keeping.