Tuition fees need to increase by up to 40 per cent to £13,000-a-year to stop the reliance of universities on international students, higher education bosses have warned.
It comes as official figures showed that record numbers of international students will be enrolling at UK universities this year, sparking concerns that British teenagers are losing out.
More than half the students at some of the UK’s most prestigious universities are now foreign, with both the London School of Economics and University College London saying 54 per cent of their intake comes from abroad.
The Mail on Sunday revealed today that the number of international students at British universities has increased by 40 per cent in the past five years, compared to a ten per cent increase in domestic students.
And university bosses have warned that the number of places going to foreign applicants is only going to increase if domestic fees remain at £9,250, the Sunday Times has reported.
The vice-chancellors of several UK universities said that they are having to take more international students than they might have otherwise due to the high fees they are able to charge them.
Sir David Bell, vice-chancellor at the University of Sunderland and a former permanent secretary at the Department for Education, (pictured) said more international students are being admitted because universities rely on their higher fees
On average, international families pay some £24,000 for their children to go to British universities, whereas fees for British and European students have been frozen at £9,250 for the last decade.
Sir David Bell, vice-chancellor at the University of Sunderland and a former permanent secretary at the Department for Education, told the Times that he would like to be able to recruit international students ‘as a matter of choice, not simply because there is a financial imperative to do it’.
He added: ‘You cannot expect to run universities on a fee level of £9,250 a year, which by 2025 will be worth around £6,000 in real terms because of inflation.
‘If you want to keep running universities even at the level we have now, you have to increase the tuition fee at some point.’
Professor Colin Riordan, vice-chancellor of Cardiff University, warned it might not be ‘viable’ to continue teaching domestic students if the Government does not address the funding model.
The London School of Economics (pictured) and University College London say 54 per cent of their students come from abroad
Professor Karol Sikora, who set up the University of Buckingham medical school, said domestic fees should rise to between £12,000 and £13,000-a-year in order to stop the ‘heartbreaking’ reality that ‘bright British students with straight As who want to be doctors’ are being turned away by UK universities.
This would mean the amount students have to pay each year in tuition increasing by up to 40%, at a time when other costs such as accommodation and food are also soaring.
But university bosses argue that if tuition fees had kept pace with inflation over the past ten years they would already be at £12,000.
Analysis by the Mail on Sunday, however, shows that the income of UK universities has actually increased by 21 per cent to £23billion in the past five years – outstripping inflation which stands at 18.7 per cent over those years, according to the Office for National Statistics.
Former Tory leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith said universities are now ‘almost completely dependent on Chinese students’. Pictured in 2021
Will Tanner, of the think-tank Onward, said: ‘In the last decade we have seen two big trends: a dramatic increase in the number of overseas students and a growing number of disadvantaged British students denied a place.
‘Between 2002 and 2018, for example, the number of state school pupils awarded to Oxbridge fell from 3,343 to 3,166, even as the number of foreign students soared. This is a moral failure and a strategic risk for the UK, with some of our most important institutions increasingly reliant on China for their financial futures.’
Since 2017 there has been a 34 per cent increase in students from China enrolling.
Former Tory leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith – one of five British MPs sanctioned by China for speaking out on human rights abuses – said universities are now ‘almost completely dependent on Chinese students’, adding: ‘It affects the way universities behave which is detrimental to the students.’
Published by Associated Newspapers Ltd
Part of the Daily Mail, The Mail on Sunday & Metro Media Group