UK Varsities Face Bankruptcy as Nigerian, Indian Student Drops

Nigerians travelling
Nigerians travelling People's Gazette

Due to a decline in international students from India and Nigeria, several universities in the United Kingdom, are facing the threat of bankruptcy. This could be linked to the UK policy that restricts foreign students from bringing their dependants (spouses and children) along for study. Data from 2023 revealed that India and Nigeria were the top countries for immigrants to the UK, with 253,000 and 141,000 respectively.

The policy put in place by the government led by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to reduce migration has led Indians and Nigerians to seek alternative destinations that offer education and accommodation for their families.

The Times disclosed that the UK’s policy is negatively affecting universities, with about 15 institutions currently considering cutting jobs and courses this academic year.

Apart from the reduction in the number of non-research degrees students prohibited from bringing their families to the UK, the Home Secretary, James Cleverly, also recommended the removal of visas that enable students to work in Britain for two or three years after graduation.

In response to a decrease in the number of wealthy foreign students, universities are cutting costs, resulting in students facing fewer teaching staff, lower quality, and limited options.

Due to the potential loss of one-third of international students, university authorities have issued warnings of “really difficult” cuts, including halting entire courses and laying off academic staff.

Tuition rates have effectively been stagnant for more than ten years, prompting colleges to make up for losses on domestic students by enrolling international students who pay higher fees.

In the past four years, there has been a 60% increase in numbers, totaling 560,000; early acceptance data forecasts a 37% decrease in overseas admissions for the next fiscal year.

With a sevenfold increase in enrollments over four years, data from Nigeria is expected to drop by 71%, overtaking the entire EU with 33,000 students at British universities.

When addressing the crisis, John Rushforth, the Executive Secretary of the Committee of University Chairs, remarked, “Having been in higher education for 30 years, senior leaders are more concerned than ever...bankruptcy is a genuine possibility for some institutions, prompting universities to take difficult actions to prevent it."

He also emphasized that taking fewer British students is a last resort, but people have to consider it due to the seriousness of the situation. 

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