Universities should increase their tuition fees for international students to £11,000 a year because this appears to have little impact on demand, a survey has suggested.
The research by the recruitment firm Hobsons asked students looking to study in the UK or Australia to make trade-offs between factors in their decision making such as university ranking, annual tuition fees and employment prospects.
Tuition fees emerged as the most important factor for prospective students – although an increase in fees of up to £11,000 made little difference to their preferences.
If a university charges less than this, “you may wish to consider reviewing this upward as, depending on the nature of the courses, you may not lose as many students relative to the possible income you may gain”, according to Beyond the Data: Influencing international student decision making, released today.
Yet a fee of £14,000 or more “markedly decreases the attractiveness of that course to prospective students”, it adds.
The second most important factor for international students was the position of an institution in international subject tables, closely followed by where the university sits in overall rankings.
Next most important was an institution’s graduate employment rate. The number of teaching hours per week, and student satisfaction scores were the least important to the prospective students surveyed.