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April 04, 2004
(Big) university business

The BBC reports how Britain's Universities already operate a market, when it comes to students from abroad, which for these purposes now means outside the EU.

Although it gets little attention, there are already high-cost, variable fees in British universities. They are the focus of a fast-growing and competitive marketing sector.

Large numbers of part-time students face variable fees, of course.

But the boom area big business for many universities is international students.

For these purposes that means any students recruited from outside the European Union. The latest estimate is that there are about 175,000 overseas, fee-paying students in Britain.

There are no limits imposed on fees for non-EU students. Undergraduate fees of £7,000 - £9,000 a year are typical and they can be much higher for postgraduates, especially on MBA courses.

Universities of all types are now investing heavily in this growth market. Overseas recruitment has grown by about 6% a year for the past five years.

It is estimated that overseas students are worth about £1bn in fee income to universities and contribute about £8bn to the UK economy.

The expansion of overseas recruitment Tony Blair's initial target was an extra 50,000 students - is one government education target which has been met with room to spare.

Yes, I've already reported on a slice of this particular action.

Posted by Brian Micklethwait at 10:00 PM
Category: Higher education
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