Dual threat to meeting the Atlantic challenge

June 17, 2010

The fact that the UK's biggest international education competitor, the US, is directing more resources to boosting its offering to foreign students should act as a wake-up call to our politicians: after all, America is already the destination of choice for many international students ("Global market hots up as US gets its act together", May).

Over the past year, the UK academy's ability to attract foreign students has been hampered by poor publicity and repeated changes (or threats of changes) to the Tier 4 points-based visa system. This has led to higher application costs, more complex paperwork and confusion among agents and students alike.

This double threat to the sector's ability to compete on the international stage comes at a time when universities in Britain are facing major budget cuts and are more reliant than ever on the fees paid by overseas students. Surely we should be rising to the Atlantic challenge and focusing on making our high-quality education more globally marketable?

James Pitman, Managing director, Higher Education - UK and Europe Study Group.

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