Universities cash in

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The Independent Online
Universities are increasingly relying on fee-paying foreign students to boost their coffers, writes Leslie Gerard.

The sector is worth pounds 1bn to the UK economy, but the dash for cash could be driving down academic standards, according to a new report.

Numbers of international students opting to take degrees in this country has trebled over 20 years, to 95,900 in 1993. They contribute pounds 700m a year in fees and direct spending on goods and services. These payments, combined with additional economic spin-offs from their presence, add up to pounds 1bn, making education a major source of foreign income, the analysis for the Committee of Vice Chancellors and Principals reveals.

Those from outside the European Union contribute at least pounds 349m a year to universities and colleges in academic fees alone. They are charged market rates for studying at a UK institution.

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