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Edinburgh Uni hopes to be 50% international

The University of Edinburgh intends to give half of its places to international students in a bid to “attract the best students from around the world”, its Principal, Timothy O’Shea, has said.

Old College Quadrangle, University of Edinburgh. Photo: dun_deagh.

Reaching the target figure would mean recruiting 2,000 more international students

At the moment international students account for 41% of the total student population, and reaching the target figure would mean recruiting some 2,000 more.

At the moment international students account for 41% of the university’s student population

Many of the new students will be enrolled on distance learning courses, a university spokesperson said.

There is no time frame by which to reach the figure, which O’Shea described as a “long term aspiration” for the Russell-group institution.

If Edinburgh is successful in reaching its goal, it will have the second-highest number of international students in the UK, after the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).

However, a spokesperson has said that it does not intend to reduce the number of domestic students, instead framing the move as part of the university’s ongoing expansion.

“As the University continues to grow, we will seek to offer opportunities to more students from outside the UK, many of whom will be supported by our generous bursaries programme,” they said.

Earlier this year representative body Universities UK (UUK) said that long-term trends in student recruitment for the UK were “worrying”, due to falling Indian and STEM enrolments, and could threaten some universities’ financial sustainability.

Non-EU student fees made up 30% of UK universities’ total income and generated £10.7bn in earnings last year, according to a UUK report, which showed higher education institutions are becoming more dependent on foreign students.

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