Visa crackdown is ‘devastating’ private colleges

The effect of the government’s student visa policies on private higher education colleges has been “swift and probably even more devastating than was predicted”, according to a think tank.

January 30, 2012

CentreForum, which last year said changes to visa rules introduced by the coalition were biased against the private sector, claims in a new report that enrollments at such colleges have dropped by around 70 per cent.

The report - Tier 4 tears: how government student visa controls are destroying the private HE sector – cites the example of Cavendish College London, which it says has already closed, claiming others face being taken over by publicly-funded universities.

It says action needs to be taken urgently to remove discrepancies in the rules between the private and public sector, particularly the fact that overseas students at private colleges cannot work part-time while studying.

Chris Nicholson, author of the report and CentreForum's chief executive, said: “The student visa controls make a mockery of the government's aim to promote greater diversity in higher education. The private sector is being critically undermined.”

John Sanders, principal of Cavendish College until its closure, added: “There is now an enormous disparity in the treatment of international students in the private sector compared with those in public colleges and universities.

“The government clearly does not care how it reaches its net migration target.”

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