The UK had nine institutions in the top 100 universities this year - three fewer than in 2011, according to the latest figures from the Times Higher Education. The Tories were warned that imposing an arbitrary limit on student numbers would damage Britain's educational reputation abroad.
The UK had nine institutions in the top 100 universities this year – three fewer than in 2011, according to the latest figures from the Times Higher Education.
Commenting on this year’s report, editor of Times Higher Education Rankings Phil Baty said that he has “clear evidence that the US and the UK in particular are losing ground“.
Given the government’s determination to put foreign students off studying in the UK, perhaps this shouldn’t come as a surprise.
Five chairs of parliamentary committees have previously called for visas for non-EU students to be excluded from the Home Office’s cap on net immigration figures, a cap blocking an £8bn industry.
But no, home secretary Theresa May pressed ahead with the cap.
“The most significant migrant route to Britain is the student route. And so we must take action here too,” she said in March 2011.
And the policy has born fruit. It was reported last week that the number of overseas students fell to 197,000 in the 12 months to June from 239,000 the previous year.
The only problem is that the fruit appears to be rotten.
The Tories were warned by their coalition partners that imposing an arbitrary limit on student numbers would damage Britain’s educational reputation abroad:
“The last thing we need to be doing when we are encouraging growth is to pull the rug out from under the feet of our great universities,” a senior Liberal Democrat source warned in 2011.
And going by this year’s university rankings, there’s a good chance it has.
Responding to the latest university rankings, general secretary of the University and College Union Sally Hunt said:
“It is unlikely that recent negative headlines around the world about the UK threatening to deport students, coupled with changes to how students are classified for migration figures, will have done much to enhance our reputation on the international stage.”
Does it matter?
Well, yes. As Phil Baty added: “A university’s reputation is subjective, but it matters deeply in today’s highly competitive global marketplace,”
Top ten nationalities issued entry clearance visas for the purposes of study, 2011 (Total 261,405)
Source: Home Office, Immigration Statistics July – September 2012, Before Entry tables be.06.s.Like this article? Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by making a donation today.