international students

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UK government defeated on international student policy by House of Lords

The house of Lords voted to take international students out of the UK's net migration figures.

Peers backed an amendment tabled by Lord Hannay of Chiswick, stating that no student should be treated for public policy purposes as a long term migrant to the UK, for the duration of their studies.

The amendment passed with a large majority in favour 313 votes vs 219. The defeat is a set back for Downing street. Theresa May, who in her capacity as Home Secretary and most recently Prime Minister, did not support removing international students from net migration figures, which recent governments have pledge to bring down by "tens of thousands."

This policy has resulted in international numbers from certain countries reducing and UK institutions, loosing out to competitor countries, such as the US and Australia. The UK is currently second to the US as a provider of higher education. Lord Hannay warned that the UK is "loosing market share to our main competitors"

The Department of Education voiced its disappointment in the vote. However, the amendment will next be considered by MPs who may choose to accept or reject it. Should the bill pass, then the government would be forced into a situation where it has to encourage international students and cooperation between UK and overseas institutions. 

 

 

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Fingerprinting International Students

Two British universities have taken the radical step of fingerprinting their international students to monitor lecture attendance. The universities of Sunderland and Ulster have both brought in this unprecedented system to comply with new government rules, but have faced heavy criticism for it.

The ‘biometric monitoring systems' are used at satellite campuses in London, which are home to only overseas students. It is this discrimination between British and foreign students that has been roundly condemned, with the NUS leading the chorus of concern.

International students' officer Daniel Stevens claimed the measures are "incredibly unwelcoming" and "unfairly target one group", adding that:

"It is appalling that certain institutions have required physical checks of any quantity and have discriminated against international students when implementing monitoring procedures."

Such concerns have been echoed by Sunderland students' union president Carl Taylor who called it a "limitation of freedom".

Indeed, another institution- Newcastle University, scrapped their idea to use a similar fingerprinting system after a student union vote against it.

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UK International Student Numbers Expected to Rise

A new report released by the British Council today has predicted huge increases in the number of international students coming to study in the UK over the next ten years. With growing concerns over tighter visa restrictions, unwelcoming governmental rhetoric and increased tuition fees at UK universities, this forecast is hugely encouraging.

In the next decade it is expected that the UK will attract an extra 126,000 international students, making it one of the world's fastest growing destinations by 2024. It will cement its place as one of the leading countries for higher education in the world alongside the US and Australia, though it is predicted that all three will face stronger and stronger competition from China.

On a global level, despite the economic struggles, the overall number of students choosing to study abroad has exceeded expectations in the last five years, and such growth is expected to continue. Amazingly, by 2024, China and India will be sending a combined total of almost 4 million students to other countries, contributing a third of the global total.

However, the UK is expected to perform most strongly in the developing markets of Nigeria, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan where it is currently pushing its higher education sector.

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The Cultural Importance of International Students in Scotland

A report from Universities Scotland has emphasised the "positive social, cultural and educational impact" that international students have at universities in Scotland. Titled ‘Richer for it', the report is a reaction to the way that overseas students have recently been portrayed simply as a way to make money.

Universities Scotland is the representative body for Scotland's universities and higher education colleges, and together with a number of prominent figures in higher education, they have created the report which will be presented to MPs at Westminster.

With threats to international student visas a constant problem, the standard argument against change has been the amount of money that these students bring to the UK. Indeed, it is estimated that the 28,500 international students in Scotland bring £337 million every year in fees and an estimated £441 million in off-campus expenditure.

However, Head of the University of Aberdeen, Professor Sir Ian Diamond, explains:

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Record Numbers of International Students Go Through ‘Clearing’

UK universities have seen a record number of non-EU students gaining places on courses through ‘clearing' this year. Meanwhile, EU student clearing numbers are up on last year, but yet to reach their peak in 2011.

‘Clearing' is a process in the UK for students who either didn't get any university offers or who do not get the exam results they need for their offer. Basically it is a system to get applicants without an offer to find a university course that still has spaces available. Students can find a uni clearing list to discover the courses that still have vacancies and then contact the universities directly to try and gain an offer.

Busiest Year Ever

Overall, this has been the busiest year ever for clearing, with over 430,000 students being placed on courses since UK A-level results were released just five days ago. Non-EU international students have mirrored this trend, with clearing numbers increasing by 7% compared to this time last year. Similarly, EU student clearing numbers are up 9% on 2012. You can see the numbers over the last five years in the table below released by university admissions organisation UCAS.

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