Regarding the article “Private pair claim more public cash than LSE” (6 February), which looked at the support received by students at private providers from the Student Loans Company. We would like to make clear that St Patrick’s International College is an independent college, and receives not one penny in government funding from the Higher Education Funding Council for England. In 2012-13, the London School of Economics received £24.4 million in Hefce grants for teaching and research – considerably more than the £11 million St Patrick’s received from the SLC. And if you add the £8.5 million that the LSE received from the SLC, a total of almost £33 million in “public cash” went to the LSE, nearly three times the amount received by St Patrick’s.
St Patrick’s has achieved growth by introducing new courses and investing the resources required to manage increased student numbers. We began teaching UK honours degrees and higher national diploma courses in 2000. Until the recent changes in the student funding regime, we did not attract many home and European Union students because our students could not access student loans, which they could if they did the same courses at publicly funded institutions.
In 2009, St Patrick’s became the first alternative provider (without degree-awarding powers) to negotiate and, in 2010, to opt into a Quality Assurance Agency review. This gave the public confidence that we were comparable to publicly funded institutions. After successfully completing the integrated quality enhancement review in late 2012, St Patrick’s has subsequently accepted the QAA’s invitation to subscribe, and we will now be reviewed by the QAA just like publicly funded institutions.
St Patrick’s has been calling for a more level playing field to allow us to compete on equal terms with publicly funded institutions. Current Tier 4 visa regulations do not give the same privileges and conditions to our learners as those doing the same courses at publicly funded institutions, which makes us less attractive to overseas students.
Fortunately, news of our quality is spread across the world by our alumni and students. We shall continue with our sustainable growth strategy and to serve the interests and fulfil the expectations of our students from home and abroad.
St Patrick’s International College