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Universities Take Foreign Students Ahead of British

Nearly half of The Sunday Times’s top 50 universities have cut British undergraduate numbers. PHOTO: TheTimes.co.uk/Alamy

Drive for higher fees ‘betrays’ sixth-formers

By Andrew Gilligan | 6 August 2017

THE SUNDAY TIMES — British A-level students are being “discriminated” against by many of the UK’s top universities as they recruit more lucrative overseas applicants instead, often with poorer qualifications, a Sunday Times investigation discloses.

The former education minister Lord Adonis said the findings were “seriously alarming”, attacking elite universities for “crowding out British students” and “betraying their mission” to widen access. Some pupils with top A-level grades were being turned away.

Half the top-flight Russell Group, including Oxford and Cambridge, and 23 of The Sunday Times’s top 50 universities have cut British undergraduate numbers, often substantially, since 2008. Across all universities British undergraduate numbers have also fallen since 2008, even though UK applications for university rose by 17% in that time. Numbers of non-EU students, who pay as much as four times the fees charged to British and EU ones, have increased by 39%.

As more than 250,000 sixth-formers await their A-level results next week, an investigation by The Sunday Times has shown how thousands of overseas students are being granted “fast-track” admission to leading British universities including Manchester, East Anglia, Durham and Exeter without needing to take A-levels or the equivalent qualification in their own countries. […]

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