Russian students wishing to study abroad are more than 100 times more likely to gain grants or financing from education and training programmes in the United States as in Britain, university recruitment experts in Moscow for a British education exhibition heard this week.
Exhibitors at the launch of the British Council-sponsored exhibition were told that Britain spends just Pounds 350,000 a year on scholarships aimed at Russian students compared with America's Pounds 40 million.
Following prime minister Tony Blair's pledge to increase the number of overseas students benefiting from British higher education, the number of Chevening scholarships may be doubled to 30 - equal to Pounds 700,000 - next year said Tony Andrews, Moscow director of the British Council.
He added that more than 18,000 Russians study in Britain every year and Britain's reputation in Russia remains high.
Hundreds of Moscow's young graduates flocked to the exhibition. More than 30 British universities and institutions took part in the exhibitions which then moved on to St Petersburg.
Some institutions present, such as Robert Gordons University, offer small scholarships of around Pounds 1,000 to help Russian students with average tuition fees of Pounds 7,000 and annual living expenses of Pounds 5,000. But most have nothing other than the quality of their degrees to offer.
Sharne Procter, director of student recruitment and admissions at Glasgow University, said: "If the government is really keen to increase the number of students from overseas it will have to invest more money in attracting them."
Yelena Nikulina, a 21-year-old management student at Moscow's Higher School of Economics, said she would prefer to study in Britain because it was a European country sharing some of the same cultural roots as Russia and was much closer to home than America. But she would consider studying in the US if family finances dictated it.