UK varsities to cut courses, staff over drop in Nigerian, foreign students enrollment

Universities in the United Kingdom are considering cutting
off courses over the reduction of international student enrollment, which is
beginning to affect the funding of some institutions.


The Times, on Saturday, reported that university leaders
warned that the loss of one-third of foreign students has threatened to push
institutions into loss, forcing them to make “really difficult” cuts such as
closing entire courses and reducing the number of teaching staff, among other


According to the report, John Rushforth, who serves as the
Executive Secretary of the University Chairs Committee, expressed concern when
he said: “I have been in higher education for 30 years and senior leaders are
more concerned than ever.”


He added that “bankruptcy is a realistic possibility,” with
one in ten already cutting staff this year.


Rushforth continued, “Accepting fewer British students is a
last resort but if you are losing something, people have to consider it. We
have to analyse everything because the situation is very serious.”


“Universities have to think carefully about what they want
to protect and make decisions about how to divest things that are not core to
the institution. There will be fewer options for students. So, basically, you
either have to increase revenue or reduce quality or volume,” he said.


Some universities have linked the decline in Nigerian
student enrollment to the nation’s economic crisis, as the naira plummeted
against the Great Britain Pound.


The Financial Times reported in January that enrollment into
UK universities had fallen by over a one-third from key countries, including
Nigeria and India.


After the announcement by the UK authorities to stop foreign
students from bringing in dependents on their study visas, there was panic
among universities that they might fall into deficit.


Recall that earlier this year, British Prime Minister, Rishi
Sunak announced new immigration policies, stopping international graduate students
from bringing family members to the UK.


He also stated that the government was reviewing the
so-called “graduate route”, enabling international students to work in the UK
for two years.



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