Western Daily Press, 02/02/15, the West is suffering a ‘brain drain’ of its top students who are increasingly opting to study at universities in Europe, new research has revealed. HMC's survey is referenced.
As a political row intensified over Labour’s plans for a cap on tuition fees, it emerged a growing number of students from the south west are applying for degree places at universities in the Netherlands and Belgium.
They are lured by top universities, courses in English, cities where most people speak English and tuition fees are as much as six times cheaper than universities here.
The number of students from the region opting to study abroad has jumped by an astonishing 80 per cent in the past three years, with universities in the Low Countries overtaking the US as the most popular destination.
Yesterday, Labour defended its proposal to cap tuition fees at £6,000 – down from the current £9,000 – despite university leaders claiming it would create a £10 billion ‘black hole’ in university funding.
But those universities are increasingly losing the best students to study abroad. Nine out of ten headteachers of secondary schools in the West Country are reporting an increase in interest among A-Level students in studying in Holland or Belgium, a survey of the Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference has revealed.
One university, in the Netherlands city of Maastricht, is even holding a special open day this weekend just for students from England.
Tuition fees for the University of Maastricht can be as low as £1,500 a year, compared the now standard £9,000 a year charged by universities in this country.
A spokeswoman for the university in Maastricht said: “As our recent survey with HMC shows, there is growing interest among UK students in studying abroad. At Maastricht, we find students from Britain are attracted by the opportunity to enhance their career prospects and benefit from teaching in small class sizes and access to excellent facilities. Prospective students find attending our open days are a great way to see for themselves what we have to offer.”
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