WENR, February 2018: Europe

Turkey: Turkey Becoming International Education Hub

Turkey has seen a proliferation of international students in recent years. There are currently 120,000 international students from over 150 source countries studying in Turkey, compared to only 10,000 students in 2004. The head of Turkey’s Federation of International Student Associations has called for the development of further programs and opportunities for international students, and believes the number of foreign students studying in Turkey could reach 300,000 by the end of 2023. While the Turkish government provides many full-funded scholarships and has some international collaboration programs, there is still no fully authorized institution overseeing international education.

Anadolu Agency
February 2

Scotland: Free Tuition for EU students Guaranteed Through 2019-20 Enrollment

The Scottish government has confirmed it will offer free university tuition for EU students starting courses in the 2019-20 academic year, the first government in the U.K. to do so. This covers the majority of the transition period as the U.K. exits the EU. It is unclear what will happen for students who enroll after 2019-20; a recent poll found that only 17 percent of Scots felt that the government should continue to offer free tuition to EU students.

Times Higher Education
February 1

U.K.: British Council Predicts Sharp Drop in Student Mobility Growth

A new research paper by the British Council predicts that international student mobility will decrease over the next ten years. Annual growth for global outbound students is projected to average 1.7 percent in 2027, compared to 5.7 percent from 2000-2015. The expected slowdown is primarily due to shifting age demographics and an increasing number of local alternatives to satisfy higher education demand. The report encourages institutions to look to different source countries for prospective students, as well as invest in international collaboration programs.

PIE News
January 31

Ireland: Call for Post-Brexit Higher Ed Investment

With many details of the U.K.’s exit from the EU still uncertain, the Irish higher education sector has been left to consider how to protect the international competitiveness of their higher education institutions. Since the Brexit vote, the number of students applying to study in the U.K. has fallen, while the number of students applying to study in Ireland has increased. Anti-migrant statements from U.K. officials have also hindered the ability of U.K. institutions to attract academics; something Irish universities can capitalize on. To take advantage of these opportunities, many are calling for immediate, substantial investment in the higher education sector to both meet education demand and make Ireland an attractive partner for international collaboration programs.

Irish Times
January 24

U.K.: Many International Students Unclear on Where to Seek Help for Mental Health Issues

Though international students in the U.K. report fewer mental health issues than domestic students, recent statistics from a survey by Campus Living Villages and the Student Room are concerning. 36 percent of international student respondents report having “poor mental health,” and only 64 percent of international students report that they know where to go for help with mental health issues. Only 23 percent of international students knew help was offered by their residence hall. Student’s mental health is a growing concern, and many are urging universities and accommodation providers to bolster their mental health support.

PIE News
January 23

U.K.: New Universities Minister Promises Review of Tuition Fees

New universities minister Sam Gyimah has promised a review of tuition fees, but also stated that the Labour party’s push to remove fees entirely is not feasible. Unlike his predecessors, Gyimah is willing to consider a cut in tuition fees, though has not commented on when this review will take place. Gyimah, like previous minister Jo Johnson, believes vice-chancellor pay is out of hand, stating “some sense and some restraint” need to be shown. Gyimah says his priority is delivering for students and making sure their education comes with “real choice, transparency and value for money.”

Times Higher Education
January 19

Turkey: Comments by President Erdoğan Leave Many Fearful for Future of Universities

Many in the Turkish higher education sector fear for the future of Turkish universities, following recent comments from President Erdoğan claiming that academics at a top university are against “Turkish values.” Turkish institutions are still trying to recover from thousands of politically based dismissals and arrests of academics in 2016. After the president’s comments, many now fear a resurgence of arrests as well as Islamization of Turkish institutions. The international standing of the country’s institutions is also threatened. A push to further incorporate national and Islamic values into university curriculum hinders the sector’s global reputation.

Times Higher Education
January 18

Sweden: Large Increase in Asian Students Coming to Swedish Universities

Swedish universities continued to see increases in international student enrollment in the 2016-17 academic year, largely due to a jump in enrollments from Asian students. Student intake from Asia in 2016-17 was 160 percent higher than that of 2011-12. Over this period the increase is particularly pronounced with students from India, with enrollments increasing by 306 percent. While there is still no analysis on why Asian student enrollment has increased so significantly, some speculate that it could be due to recent economic growth in Asia, and in turn an increased demand for higher education, something the region is not yet able to satisfy.

The Pie News
January 15

E.U.: Brexit Leaves Twelve Billion Euro Hole in EU Budget

The U.K.’s impending exit from the EU is expected to leave upwards of a €12 billion hole in the EU’s budget. The European Commission has signaled that, despite the budget shortfall, research and higher education programs like Erasmus+ and Horizon 2020 are priorities which the organization does not intend to cut. To maintain the funding of these programs, funds may be diverted from other areas which constitute a large part of the budget, like agricultural subsidies.

Times Higher Education
January 12

U.K.: Significant Rise in Proportion of Students Graduating with First-Class Degree

New data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency shows that 26 percent of UK university students received a first class degree in the previous academic year, compared to only 18 percent in 2012-13. These findings will likely spark further debate about grade inflation at UK universities, and has already prompted calls for increased transparency around institution’s degree algorithms. The Higher Education Funding Council for England claims that some of the change can be attributed to an overall increase in student’s qualifications; the proportion of students entering with the highest possible BTEC grades has more than doubled between 2014-15 and 2016-17.

Times Higher Education
January 11


U.K.: International Students Worth Ten Times Their Cost to U.K. Economy

International students are very beneficial to the UK economy and are worth about 10 times the amount they cost the taxpayer, according to a report by the Higher Education Policy Institute. This analysis, unlike its predecessors, takes into account the cost of hosting overseas students and includes the burden they create on the NHS and other public services. Accounting for these costs, international students generate a net £20.3 billion to the UK. Students from outside the EU are worth more to the economy than those within, as EU students are eligible for more public subsidies and are entitled to the use of more public services. This analysis could create added pressure for Prime Minister Theresa May to reverse course on her decision to include students in net migration figures.

Times Higher Education
January 11

U.K.: Universities See Declining Number of International Students from Outside EU

The UK has seen a significant decrease in the number of students coming to study from outside the EU, a trend many in higher education attribute to increasingly rigid visa rules. While the overall number of overseas students coming to the UK in the 2016-17 academic year increased by just under one percent, this reflects a seven percent increase in students coming from within the EU; the number of non-EU students fell by almost one percent. The increase in EU students is primarily attributable to the government’s recent removal of a cap on the overall number of people in higher education. Most of the student’s reflected in this figure would have applied for courses before the result of the EU referendum was known, however, some feel that the decline reflects the rhetoric used by the government in regards to international students.

Times Higher Education
January 11

Posted in Europe, Regional News Summaries