Wednesday, September 15th, 2010
British students finding cheaper reasons to study abroad.
Money talks, as UK universities recruit international students over their own.
In India, new vows to crack down on misleading education ads.
More phone tips for hitting the road.
1) LET’S GO CANADA – British students finding cheaper reasons to study abroad.
With this year’s dwindling number of home student places in the UK, and British universities looking set to raise their tuition fees in the near future, local students are finding ever more reasons to look abroad for alternative study options. With American university tuition fees approximately £11,000 to £25,000 a year, Canadian schools’ lower price tags – ranging from around £9,000 to £11,000 – are meriting heightened attention. Canadian quality is also getting noticed.
UK undergraduate physics student Will Carroll, 21, at Montreal’s McGill University says his experience at has been a real eye-opener. “I’ve really had to raise my game,” he says, referring to his surprise at the high academic standards he found in Canada. “There’s no chance of getting away with just three nights’ mugging-up before the exam.”
His mother, Barbara, is also certain that the experience (although more expensive than staying at home in the UK) will be beneficial for her son later on: “When he graduates, he will not only have a more prestigious degree than he would have got in England, he will also have gained a huge amount in confidence… Living abroad now holds no fears for him.”
Other areas that many British students are finding themselves particularly attracted to are Australia (with costs similar to Canadian universities) and the rest of Europe. With English course instruction becoming more common world-wide, and new academic standardization across Europe (thanks to this year’s creation of the European Higher Education Area), there have never been more reasons to study abroad – particularly looking at the EU education price tags for British students, where many universities offer tuition fees equal to what their national students pay. In other words, a year’s education could cost British students as little as £160 per year!
Source: “A-level results: a world of study options”. The Telegraph, August 19, 2010.
2) ABROAD PERSPECTIVE – Money talks, as UK universities recruit international students over their own.
Cries over the situation are being echoed nation-wide: Thousands of high-scoring British students are left without university placements for this coming semester, while UK universities continue to advertise and open their doors to new international student applicants. The irony and perceived ‘unfairness’ of the situation has led to widespread criticism of government policy.
The policy, which imposes tight restrictions over the number of places available at universities, was designed to keep Government spending in check. With tuition fees for undergraduate students from Britain and the European Union capped at £3,290 a year, the remainder of student costs (equaling roughly £5,000 per student per year) are covered by the Government. In other words, any school that goes over the “allowed” number of students must pay the Government a fine to make up for these costs.
After the resulting fines last year – in which 60 institutions were penalized – cost universities a total of £16 million (that’s £3,778 per each student ‘over the limit’), extra care is being taken to not exceed the limitations this year. Resulting, of course, in more British students than ever (many of whom earned multiple A grades on their A-level exams) being shut out of their home universities.
Where there are no Government restrictions however, is on the number of non-EU or “international” students at any given institution. Many international students pay full tuition fees equaling up to £20,000 a year.
As visa regulations for international students wishing to attend universities in the UK continuing to get stricter and stricter, the recruitment of such students is an increasingly difficult process.
At Worcester, where international student numbers will rise 20% this year (similar to other institutions across the UK), urgent reforms are being called for in order to provide universities greater control over recruitment of local students.
“It’s very important we don’t alienate young people in this country,” says Vice-Chancellor of the university, Professor David Green.
Considering that many universities’ doors are still open to new international student applicants – well past their cut-off point for local students – it’s clear that lack of capacity is not the issue at hand. But then again, as Green points out, neither is “money” a simple, straightforward explanation to the situation either.
“If we were to take on a British student,” he explains, “who says ‘here’s my money, I’m willing to pay [an international student fee]’, it would be illegal. [The situation] is very wrong.”
General Secretary of the Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference of leading public schools, Geoff Lucas, has warned the Government that it faces a “public relations disaster” if unable to explain its policy clearly.
Source: “Universities woo foreign students but close door on Britons in ‘two-tier’ clearing system”. Daily Mail, August 17, 2010. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1303700/Universities-tier-clearing-closes-door-Britons.html