British Universities See Strong Increase in International Graduate-Student Enrollments

Maggie Canvin sociolingo at
Fri Sep 15 17:03:58 UTC 2006

I think this article should really read ' British universities see strong decrease in British student postgraduate enrollment'!  In all my MA Education and Society classes at the University of Reading from 1994-6, I was the ONLY British student apart from in one class on International development where there was one other British student. The same thing happened when I went on to a PhD in Education there from 1997-2003. However, the part-time evening course for a similar MA was FULL of British students who were working full-time during the day. The reason being that most British students cannot get funding for post-graduate study in the UK. I found it incredibly frustrating that my international colleagues on the MA course got funding for computers, books, conferences etc whilst I was struggling financiallyas I had to fund myself with a little help from my organisation (NGO). There is funding for postgraduate research through the ESRC etc but it is very restricted and
 mostly, unless graduates have their own funds (or rich parents), and are not shackled with a huge student loan,  postgraduate study is just a dream.

What this report also hides is the 'glass ceiling' for women graduates who wish to rise in the University hierarchy.  There are a lot of women at the lower levels but incredibly few at higher levels. (I realise that is an unsubstantiated statement  but is my experience).

Maggie Canvin

"Harold F. Schiffman" <haroldfs at> wrote:
Friday, September 15, 2006

British Universities See Strong Increase in International Graduate-Student


International students now represent half of all graduate students at
British universities, which are increasingly dependent on them to balance
their budgets, according to a report released last week by Universities
UK, an umbrella organization that represents the vice chancellors of all
British universities. The report, "Patterns of Higher-Education
Institutions in the UK," is updated annually. This year's survey, the
sixth in the series, covers the period from 1995-96 to 2004-5. Enrollments
of international students -- defined by the report as those from outside
the European Union -- doubled during that period, from 111,480 to 218,395.

Last year's report highlighted how international-student enrollment had
helped sustain departments whose survival would otherwise be threatened
because of declining interest among domestic students. It also underscored
the crucial financial benefits that universities derive from students from
outside the European Union, who pay a higher tuition rate. This year's
report shows that international students also now make up 46 percent of
graduate research students and half of all students enrolled in graduate
programs. In 2001 just three British institutions had more than 5,000
students from outside Britain. In 2004-5, 13 universities enrolled more
than that number. "International students account for the entire growth in
numbers of postgraduate research students, underlining the ways in which
international students are not only important for the financial health of
U.K. higher education, but in many areas also for the renewal of
disciplines," the report said.

Geoffrey Crossick, warden of the University of London's Goldsmiths
College, leads the Universities UK strategy group that produces the annual
"Patterns" reports in conjunction with the Standing Conference of
Principals, the representative body for colleges in England and Northern
Ireland. He emphasized that the growing number of international students
in Britain brings more than financial benefits, enhancing "the place of
our universities in the world and the quality of the educational
experience they provide." He also noted that many of the foreign students
who obtain graduate degrees at British universities remain in the country
to pursue careers in research or teaching, contributing to the quality of
the research base at British universities. International researchers fill
the void produced by the failure of British students to opt for research
degrees, he said, calling that trend among domestic students "worrying."

Other trends highlighted by the report include gender balances among
university students and, for the first time this year, among faculty
members. Women are now in the majority at all degree levels, it says. Male
students approach parity only among full-time graduate students, whose
numbers are dominated by foreign students. Among academic staff members,
gender balances varied steeply, with women representing 35 percent of the
faculty at institutions in the lowest decile, or the 10 percent of
universities with the lowest proportion of women on the teaching staff,
and 54 percent at those in the highest decile. The median for all
institutions was 43 percent. "The big story in terms of patterns is the
very significant growth in higher education in the U.K. in the number of
students participating," Mr.  Crossick said. "Universities have really
successfully dug properly into the question of diversity, with far more
students from poorer neighborhoods and from ethnic minority roots."

He acknowledged, however, that some groups remain underrepresented,
especially working-class male students and Afro-Caribbean men. The release
of the report comes at the beginning of a new academic year in which, for
the first time, students at most universities in England and Wales are
being charged tuition of 3,000, or about $5,600, a year -- more than
double the previous rate. The report shows that even before the jump in
tuition, students were feeling a financial strain. Over the decade the
report covered, the proportion of undergraduate students living with their
parents nearly doubled, from 12 percent to 20 percent.


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