In a chapter for the book, which aims to contribute to the policy discussion ahead of 2015’s General Election, the Director of the Higher Education Policy Institute, Nick Hillman, said that ‘the confusion over international students’ needs to be resolved.
He calls for international students to be excluded from the numbers surrounding the cap on immigration from outside of the EU, and echoes the view of Jo Johnson, head of the Number 10 Policy Unit, who wrote in the Financial Times in 2012: ‘The government faces real choices over policy on international students.
‘The difference they make to long-term net migration is relatively small. The difference these choices make to the education sector, to Britain’s soft power around the world and to the UK economy is very significant.’
Hillman’s essay in The modernisers’ manifesto, which also says that university tuition fees are ‘here to stay,’ no matter which of the mainstream parties are elected to government, sees him write: ‘Were any party to combine a commitment to expansion [of student numbers] with a commitment to ensuring the sector is more responsive to student needs, it would be a very enticing combination.’
He contributed the essay in a personal capacity – not through partisanship – and thinks that international students ‘bring enormous economic, social and cultural benefits to the UK.’
It follows Chancellor George Osborne’s announcement in the 2013 Autumn Statement that the cap on the number of students allowed to be admitted to England’s universities is to be lifted in 2015.