higher education

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Student Visa Cuts Reduced

The government has announced that planned cuts in UK student visas will be far less stringent than first proposed.

The British Home Secretary, Theresa May, revealed that the number of international students allowed in to the UK over the next 5 years will be cut by 260,000. Whilst this may sound like a lot, it is far fewer than the 400,000 that had been suggested by the government in March this year.

Bogus Students

The new figure accounts for about 15% of international student visas, but it is important to remember that the vast majority of the students denied a visa will be ‘bogus'. The government is specifically aiming the cuts at fake students who attend private colleges simply to gain a visa to the UK, without ever actually planning to study here. If you want to study a legitimate course at a government recognised university or college, then obtaining a visa should not be any more of a problem than it currently is.

However, the chairman of MigrationWatch UK, Sir Andrew Green, has condemned the changes despite their new increased leniency, claiming that the government is approaching the problem from the wrong angle. He suggested that instead of simply creating a headline figure to cut immigration by, there should instead be a stricter interview process before students are granted visas:

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New £18,000-a-year Super-University

A group of leading academics are preparing to launch a private college in London, with the aim of not only challenging Oxford and Cambridge, but making money whilst doing so.

Fourteen professors, including celebrity biologist Richard Dawkins, and historian Sir David Cannadine, are setting up the New College of the Humanities, and plan to take their first students in September 2012. 200 of the brightest undergraduate students will pay £18,000 each in fees to study one of the eight courses on offer. These courses will cover five subject areas- Economics, English Literature, History, Law and Philosophy. Based in Bloomsbury, central London, the college will award its own Diploma to students, whilst their undergraduate BA Hons will be awarded by the University of London.

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Latest UK University Rankings Released

The Guardian newspaper today released its 2012 UK university league tables, placing Cambridge in top spot for the first time in six years.

Cambridge (pictured above) pipped Oxford to first place, with St. Andrews, LSE and UCL making up the rest of the top five. The big movers of the table were Middlesex which climbed 37 places to 75th since last year, and Birmingham City University which fell from 66th to 90th.

The Guardian’s table is based on data only for full-time undergraduate students, and the universities are ranked according to how much they spend per student, their student/staff ratio, the employability of their graduates, what grades applicants need, a value-added score and student satisfaction.

Below you can see the top 30 in the league table.


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The Future for International Students in the UK

Universities UK, the top representative body for higher education in the UK, today moved to dismiss a number of misconceptions about the visa and tuition fee changes being introduced in Britain. Foreign Students went to find out more.

The President of Universities UK, Professor Steve Smith, was joined by the head of the International and Europe Unit, Dr. Joanna Newman (above), in reassuring international students that they “are an essential part of the UK higher education system” and will remain so.

Indeed, despite the tightening of student visa regulations and the increase in Home/EU student tuitions fees, they fully expect the number of international students coming to the UK to continue rising, just as it has for the last decade. So why are they so sure of this?


Visa Changes

Professor Smith allayed fears that the changes to visa regulations will prevent international students from studying in the UK, instead suggesting that they will have “little or no consequence on legitimate international students”. The tightened rules will simply remove those people currently abusing the system by gaining student visas through fake private colleges.

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