International students – more than just a cash cow for UK higher education

If you’ve been following the recent press coverage or listen to government ministers speak about international students, you could be forgiven for thinking their only contribution to UK higher education was to finance the bottom line of universities. Through their unregulated fees, international students do pay a sizeable amount to study here in the UK. And whether universities admit it or not, international fee income unquestionably helps to subsidise the home and EU students they study alongside.

But to dwell on the financial contribution international students make is to miss the point. One of the greatest strengths of studying in a UK university is, and always has been the chance to meet fellow students from different backgrounds. This collision of perspectives and personal histories doesn’t just enrich the educational setting by adding new dimensions to the debate and discussion in our classrooms, it helps to shape a more civilised and understanding society.
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