Nottingham University has been accused of admitting students from overseas ahead of UK applicants based on financial motivations. The University has a long-established international reputation, with campuses in Malaysia and China and a traditionally high foreign intake (last year, out of a total 19,389 students, 7,276 were from overseas). Nottingham University’s global presence and cosmopolitan feel is largely regarded as a point of pride; however, this latest controversy has angered home students who feel that the University prefers to admit overseas students as they bring in more money.
This news comes as Shadow Universities Secretary David Willets admitted: “The brutal fact is that foreign students bring in much more money than British ones”. A spokesman for the University of Nottingham defended their approach, maintaining that they take many factors into account when considering an application, not just grades. The spokesman also explained that there are less financial barriers to admitting foreign students as opposed to those from the UK. The running costs of a university are only marginally covered by revenue generated by tuition fees, with the rest coming from the Higher Education Funding Council for England, which sets a limit on the number of students it can fund. However this restriction does not apply to foreign students because they pay their fees themselves.
The representative body Universities UK has spoken in defence of Nottingham. However its president, Rick Trainor, told the Financial Times that universities around the world have recently benefitted from increases in state funding and that if Britain does not keep up it will soon lose out to institutions in Australia, China and the US.