International students make billions of pounds for the UK economy and help open up a window on the world to domestic students. That’s apparently why universities are supposed to recruit them, according to government policy.
Yet international students are at risk because of the government’s ‘hostile environment’ to migration and because of the way the sector recruits them.
International student recruitment is entirely driven by demand and so relies heavily on students from a small number of countries (see graphic). It concentrates students in particular subjects and universities and focuses on income generation rather than education.