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Former education minister fury at university 'betrayal' of British students

Former education minister fury at university 'betrayal' of British students

Emilio Casalicchio

2 min read

An ex-education minister has accused universities of “betraying their mission” after it emerged many are turning away British students in favour of more lucrative foreign applicants.


The numbers of home-grown undergraduates getting places at UK universities has fallen since 2008 but applications from Brits have risen by 17%, an investigation by the Sunday Times found.

But the paper said non-EU student numbers – who pay up to four times the fees of their British counterparts – have soared by 39%.

Among the universities who have reduced their acceptance of British students are half of the 24 prestigious Russell Group – including Oxford and Cambridge - and 23 of the Sunday Times top 50 list.

The paper adds that private firms are guaranteeing foreign students places at most of the universities if they pass ‘foundation courses’ that are reportedly less gruelling than A-levels.

Tuition fees architect Lord Adonis - who served as an education minister under Tony Blair - said the shifts in acceptance numbers were a “betrayal of the mission of some of our greatest universities”.

He added: “Oxford, Cambridge, Imperial and the Russell Group should be widening access for more British young people, not turning them away.”

Approached by the paper, the Russell Group insisted it was “absolutely committed to ensuring talented UK students could access high-quality higher education”.

And the leading firms offering foundation courses said their centres were approved by the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education and the universities they were partnered with.

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