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.

Justine Moat

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1 Comment

  1. Christine Ennew
    October 8, 2009 at 13:04 — Reply

    As the Pro Vice Chancellor with responsibility for internationalisation, I thought it might be helpful for me to offer some clarification for the benefit of readers of Impact.

    We are proud of being able to attract talented students from all over the world to Nottingham. We believe that this helps to create an academically and socially stimulating environment for all of our students, for our staff and for the local community. While some universities have announced that they will reduce places for home students in favour of those from overseas this is not the case at Nottingham. We want to be able to continue to welcome well qualified students here in the UK and at our campuses in China and Malaysia irrespective of where they come from in the world. International and home students studying in the UK broadly bring in the same income levels to the University – home students pay a proportion of the fee themselves with the rest coming from the UK tax payer in the form of a ‘block grant’ from the Higher Education Funding Council for England. International students on the other hand pay the full cost of their tuition direct. The UK Government sets the maximum number of ‘home’ students that any University is allowed to admit (and Nottingham is home to one of the largest populations of ‘home’ students). The University itself determines the number of international students that it can admit in addition to its allocated number of ‘home’ students. But all students, irrespective of where they come from, must meet the University’s admissions criteria – there are no exceptions !

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