Overseas students at York no longer face dramatic year-on-year fee hikes, the University’s Planning Committee confirmed last week.
The University has pledged that once an overseas student begins a course of study, their fees will be subject to increases of no more than two per cent a year, lower than current levels of inflation.
Previously, there was no such restriction on how much fees paid by overseas students could rise each year. The guarantee will also apply, as of the start of the 2014/15 academic year, to any student already attending the University.
Mike Anstey, President of the International Students’ Association (ISA), welcomed the decision.
He said: “On certain courses tuition fees for international students are already as high as £18,000, and even £25,000, so to some these guarantees could make a difference of thousands of pounds every year.”
Anstey added the University’s response had been positive so far.
“The whole process of getting these agreements only took a couple months, which was great because I thought it would take much longer,” he said.
But he added that there was more work to be done: “One thing we’d like to get assurance of is that, in the future, first year fees charged to overseas students won’t increase by any more than those charged to home students.”
The move was also met with approval from other students. Hanan MdSom, a first year Biology student from Brunei, said: “I think it’s great that overseas students can now start at York knowing that there’s a limit to how much their whole degree will cost them. As a first year, it certainly makes me more comfortable.”
There are currently 435,235 international higher education students in the UK, contributing an estimated £10.2bn to the UK economy through tuition fees and money spent during their time here. A British Council report released this month also predicted that the UK could attract 126,000 additional international students over the next decade, and by 2024 will be one of the world’s fastest growing destinations for international students.
However, following the 2012 increase in undergraduate tuition fees, the number of international students applying to study at York dropped by more than six per cent. Any further progress made by the ISA to secure a better deal for overseas students could help numbers recover, Anstey said.
Second-year Physics and Philosophy student Ian Leong commented: “It’s clearly a positive change for international students like myself, since fees are exorbitant as it is. Transparency is great too. I’d like to know what I’m paying for given that we get the same standard of education as our local peers do, yet pay so much more.
“I see my study here as an exchange: the university provides me with a high standard of education, and I contribute to the university in return, academically or otherwise. It would be nice if my contribution wasn’t primarily financial.”