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Montevideo, March 1st 2021 - 13:57 UTC

 

 

UK universities under financial stress: lockdowns and absence of foreign students

Saturday, May 2nd 2020 - 06:50 UTC
Full article 2 comments
The national lockdown that forced universities to shut in late March has cost £790 million (US$990 million), according to representative body Universities UK (UKK). The national lockdown that forced universities to shut in late March has cost £790 million (US$990 million), according to representative body Universities UK (UKK).

With conferences cancelled and revenues hit because of a lack of rent from student accommodation, Britain's universities are reeling from the global coronavirus pandemic. Schools have already lost millions of pounds thanks to enforced closures under lockdown, and things could get worse still.

“British universities are under very severe strain from the crisis,” Nick Hillman, director of the Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI) think tank admitted. The national lockdown that forced universities to shut in late March has cost £790 million (US$990 million), according to representative body Universities UK (UKK).

And the next academic year could be even worse if international students, who pay higher tuition fees, stay away or are hit by movement restrictions. “The potential impact is extreme,” said UKK, which has asked the government for £2 billion in aid.

Without it, they warned that some institutions risked having to cut back sharply or risk closing together.

Britain is the second-most popular university destination for foreign students after the United States. In 2018-2019, one in five pupils in the country came from overseas. Of a total of 485,645 overseas students, nearly 343,000 came from outside the European Union. Of those, 120,385 came from China.

International students are a financial lifeline for British universities, often paying twice as much as the £9,250 a year in tuition fees for EU nationals and their British counterparts. Longer courses such as medicine attract even higher fees.

Vivienne Stern, director of UKK's international branch, said 17% of universities' overall revenues - the equivalent of about £6 billion - came from foreign students.

“In some universities the proportion of total income which comes from international student fees is higher than that. But for most universities it's a significant source of income,” she added.

A report by the consultancy firm London Economics in April for the University and College Union estimated that all foreign students (EU and non-EU) were 47 per cent less likely to enroll in their first year in the UK in 2020-2021 compared to 2018-2019.

For British students, the figure was 16 per cent. That could threaten as many as 30,000 direct jobs and more than 32,000 in the local economy which depend on the university sector.

Oxford University, which is on the front line of human vaccine trials, has announced a 12-month hiring freeze. The University of Manchester, one of the largest in the country, has also put a brake on hiring and reduced the salaries of its managers by 20%.

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  • Pytangua

    This is a good development as university vice-chancellors and senior administrative staff have being paying themselves mega salaries on the back of attracting overseas students, especially from China. In the process entry standards have dropped but been covered up. Also contact hours have declined and academic salaries have been frozen and work outsourced to contracted staff. Everyone in the sector knows this but are too afraid to speak out against VCs. The figure quoted of o'seas fees being 'twice as high' - often paying twice as much as the £9,250 a year in tuition fees for EU nationals and their British counterparts - is wrong, as the average for taught Masters programmes is three times higher, not twice. .

    May 02nd, 2020 - 08:59 am 0
  • Livepeanuts

    I would say that the UK thanks in a great measure to our inellectuals is no longer the Imperial Super Power it once was.
    Unlike the patriotic Russians and Chinese, UK traitors rushed to the UN to put down our territories for decolonization!
    They even put down two islands full of British people for that: The Falklands, possibly one of the causes of the Falklands War and all the damage that did.
    We should only use our precious resources to save those establishments which love and support the UK and which are worth saving, let Moscow save theirs.
    Those parts which want to “decolonize the UK” should be helped to move to that magnificent example of the traitor policies of “decolonization” which is Zimbabwe, I am sure that the snow flakes who want decolonization of the UK and its education would be so happy in the decolonized country.
    Those wishing to implement the foreign policies of Moscow we should watch them fall.
    This is a fantastic opportunity to improve on the quality of our intellectuals. We should not waste this chance.

    May 02nd, 2020 - 12:29 pm 0
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