Call for foreign student subsidy in UK
London, July 14: UK taxpayers should subsidise overseas students who want to study here, a
higher education body is arguing.
The Higher Education Policy Institute (Hepi) says high fees might put off
foreign students, who bring economic benefits to the country.
Non-EU students pay much higher tuition fees than British students, although
EU students pay the same.
The government says the current system works well and it has no plans to
change it: universities set their fees.
A report from Hepi says the economic benefits of attracting more students far
outweighs the cost.
This is because students pay fees and spend money on food and rent. Once they
have graduated, they might work in the UK and pay taxes here, the report says.
International students from non-EU countries pay at least £3.3bn a year on
tuition fees and living expenses, the researchers estimate.
And even if every EU student refused to pay back the UK government loans they
are entitled to receive for tuition fees, the economy would still benefit, the
"It is clear that it is well worth maximising the number of both EU and
non-EU international students, it said.
"Even if there were no other benefit, both groups provide substantially more,
financially, than they consume."
The authors warn that international students might be put off from coming to
Britain by the fees, when countries such as Germany offer free education.
Higher education minister Bill Rammell said there were no plans to change the
"We have a world class system of higher education which is attractive to
overseas students who not only make a valuable financial contribution to the UK
higher education sector and economy but also bring other cultural, research,
trade and diplomatic and benefits.
"Institutions are free to set their own fee rates for overseas' students. The
demand for places from domestic students exceeds supply - with more funding, our
priority would be to create room for them rather than subsidise those from
overseas." BBC News