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UCU response to government's international education strategy announcement

6 February 2021 | last updated: 10 February 2021

UCU said the government's international education strategy risked treating international students as cash cows.

It also raised concerns over the Turing scheme, including the millions lost in funding compared to Erasmus.

UCU general secretary Jo Grady said: 'Unfortunately, the government's international education strategy seems to view international students as cash cows, relying on their uncapped tuition fees to buttress university bank accounts. International students bring huge social and cultural benefits to the UK and should be welcomed to study at sustainable, publicly funded universities, rather than being exploited for fee income. Any attempt to welcome more international students to the UK will also continue to ring hollow whilst the government enforces its hostile environment.

'We welcome the extension of the Turing scheme to colleges, but the £110m pot is around £83m less than the UK was receiving from the Erasmus scheme. Opening up access to more students from disadvantaged backgrounds is a laudable ambition but needs the resources to match it. Erasmus also supported staff mobility and knowledge exchange, and contributed to the outward looking, collaborative approach upon which the success of our institutions is built. At the very least, the Turing scheme needs to provide the same benefits we received under schemes like Erasmus, if the government's post-Brexit 'global Britain' rhetoric is to be believed.'

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