Foreigners in protest over tuition fees

November 23, 2001

International students are forming an organisation to protest against the level of fees they are expected to pay, writes Cherry Canovan.

Organisers of Students Against International Fees Excess say overseas students are paying up to £18,000 a year to study in Britain, and are hoping to build a nationwide campaign.

Olaide Agboola, international students officer at Sheffield University student union, said: "There is a chance, from our research, that international students' fees are higher than they should be.

"We are not saying we want to pay the same fees as home students - if you are buying a product, then you have to pay the full cost. But when you are paying in excess of the full cost, that is a big problem."

Campaigners marched through Sheffield last week to deliver a petition to university officials.

In a letter to students, university officials said: "To infer that the university is taking advantage of or is uncaring towards its many international students is deeply unfair.

"However, we are required to operate within given financial constraints requiring that our overseas fee levels reflect the real costs incurred in providing a quality education of international standing."

Meanwhile, the University of Wales, Bangor, is cutting fees for students from the world's poorest countries.

Under a differential pricing strategy, it is reducing its fees for first degrees and for taught masters by £1,000 to students from countries with an average gross domestic product of less than £7,000 per person. A first degree will cost £6,000 and a year-long taught masters £6,500.

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