‘Foreign students avoiding UK over unfavourable atmosphere’ — Birkbeck varsity VC laments


David Latchman, the vice-chancellor of the Birkbeck,
University of London, says foreign students are dropping out of UK varsities
due to an “unfavourable atmosphere” created by the government.


In May last year, the UK government announced that it would
restrict foreign students from bringing family members with them from 2024.


The Home Office said the decision was intended to stop
people from using the student visa as a backdoor route to work in the UK.


But according to The Telegraph, Latchman said Birkbeck
varsity saw a 10% drop in overseas students since October after many of them
who had accepted their admissions pulled out.


It was gathered the students who pulled out had applied in
January last year and accepted places in June but did not show up to the


Latcheman blamed the development on the new reforms
introduced by the UK government.


“This has occurred across the sector – I attribute this to
the generally unfavourable atmosphere created for international students by the
various announcements even though the ban on dependants does not actually begin
until January,” the VC lamented.


The professor, who will be stepping down as VC this week
after 20 years, said the university funding system was “unsustainable”.


“I think there’s a total failure to understand that you
can’t have a business in inverted commas where you say your business has two
products – over here, you can’t charge more than this, however much the costs
increase [for domestic students],” he said.


“And over here, I’m going to do our best to discourage
people from taking up your business where you can charge more [for
international students].


“We can’t carry on like this.”


It is also understood that there was a decline in the number
of accepted international students in 2023.


According to figures by the Universities and Colleges
Admissions Service (UCAS), for international students from outside the European
Union, there were 61,055 acceptances for 2023, down 2% from 62,455 in 2022 — but
34% up from 45,455 in 2019.




The crackdown will affect many Nigerian students hoping to
pursue their postgraduate studies in the UK, as they accounted for the highest
increase in the number of dependants accompanying persons with study visas in

Nigerian nationals also accounted for the largest increase
in sponsored study grants compared with 2019, rising by 57,545 (+686%) to a
record high of 65,929, making them the third largest nationality group.


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