Photo: 10,000 Additional Brazilian Students Could Be Coming to Britain
Just months after British Home Secretary Theresa May vowed to push for regulations to decrease the number of non-European Union nationals coming to the United Kingdom to study each year, David Willetts, the universities minister, flew to South American to arrange a deal that could mean more of their students studying in the UK.
If the talks develop into an actual deal, Brazil has already said it will provide up to £18,700 ($26,647) per student.
This deal would allow for 10,000 Brazilians to study in the UK, but not take the places otherwise meant for British and EU students. Still, concerns remain that the government’s funding model for higher education is becoming too reliant on bringing in students who, had they been born in the UK, may not have met the requirements to attend these schools.
Brazil currently does not have a single school on the Times Higher Education Supplement list of the top 200 universities in the world.
General Secretary of the University and College Union Sally Hunt said, “UK higher education benefits massively from having staff and students from across the world. However, the government must not use overseas students as cash cows, and as a way of bailing out its flawed university funding plans.”
“The development follows a £200m cut by the coalition government to state funding for higher education, which will mean 24,000 fewer places for UK and EU students, including teacher training allotments, over the next two academic years. Figures published last week also suggested that 220,000 UK and EU students would be unable to attain places this autumn following a 1.4% year-on-year increase in demand for university places as of the end of June.
The details have yet to be finalized, but it is expected that the Brazilian undergraduates would stay in the UK for nine months, although the British government is also exploring the possibility of offering postgraduate courses.
Non-EU students pay fees of up to £26,000 a year and are not counted within the allotment that each university is allowed to take on each year. It is estimated that the numbers of overseas students being educated in the UK could double in four years as universities seek sources of revenue amid a squeeze on central government funding.
Durham University is expecting a 97% rise in the number of international students between now and 2014-15, and Exeter anticipates a 73% rise across four of its colleges.”
Though the deal could mean big changes, a government spokesman said that talks of the Brazilian deal are still at an early stage.