The UK is in danger of losing precious international students by universities pricing themselves out of the market, the Higher Education Policy Institute warned today.
According to Hepi’s latest report on the economic benefits of international students, the UK’s market share of such students is still second only to the US, but it dropped to around 11% in 2004 from 16% in 1998.
Bahram Bekhradnia, director of Hepi, told EducationGuardian.co.uk: “There is a real possibility that we may price ourselves out of the market – last year’s Hepi survey of the student experience showed that over 25% of overseas students think they get poor value for money.
“It could well be in the national interest to lower the fee charged of overseas students, in order to maximise their number.”
While the actual number of international students in the UK is increasing overall, the report said universities should not presume this would continue.
As other countries begin to teach in English and market themselves more aggressively, and students get better information to compare the value for money of courses “it is quite possible that UK universities will begin to struggle to maintain numbers while charging the sorts of prices that are charged at present”, the report warns.
Hepi argues for the government to subsidise international students to maximise their numbers and “provide the greatest benefit to the country as a whole, looking beyond the narrow interests of universities”.