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May 03, 2004
New EU students coming to Britain

More international business for Britain's universities:

A record number of university applications this year includes a threefold increase in students from some of the former communist countries joining the European Union on Saturday.

Official figures from UCAS, the universities and colleges admissions service, published today, show a surge of interest from the 10 accession countries.

But now here's the tricky bit, for the universities:

These young people will be treated as home students, paying £1,150 a year in fees instead of the overseas charges of £8,000 to £19,000.


Nevertheless, an interesting development. Do you get the feeling that it is perhaps going to get rather harder to get into a British university from now on?

And, perchance, more expensive. After all, it sounds like the only way they are going to be able to charge more to all these Eastern Europeans is going to be to charge more to the locals also.

Posted by Brian Micklethwait at 12:30 AM
Category: Higher education

You mean we already have a free market in education?

Comment by: ian on May 3, 2004 03:50 PM


Hah! Not nearly as free as I'd like. But the laws of economics are never switched off merely because a large and organised attempt has been made to switch them off, as is the case with British state education, and to a somewhat lesser but still all too real extent with the universities. And sometimes these realities force themselves upon the institutions in question in a way they can't ignore, because the scale of the pressure is greater than any anti-market pressure they can exert back.

As the Adam Smith Institute people like to say, British universities are now getting "addicted" to foreign students.

Meanwhile, if massive numbers of students arrive from all over the EU, demanding a British university education as of right, something may have to give, and what I here suggest may give is the present policy of price control.

But you have a good point. Educational globalisation (see the next posting here) is a huge trend now, along with globalisation generally, and it is turning hitherto impeccably nationalised industries into capitalists of potentially very great energy.

Comment by: Brian Micklethwait on May 4, 2004 08:02 PM
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