U.K. Universities and Recruiters Criticized for Treating Foreign Students as "Cash Cows"

In a scathing criticism of university administrators in the U.K., British Council Chief Executive, Martin Davidson, accuses certain U.K. universities of treating foreign students as “cash cows”.  Davidson implies that the students are being admitted for their tuition dollars instead of their minds.  He frames their new appreciation of international students as a gimmick meant to patch up their budgets at a time of financial hardship.  Davidson’s criticism gets to the crux of an increasingly prevalent phenomenon among Anglophone universities worldwide.

Can one really blame universities for adjusting their admissions policies to bring in more tuition revenue?  The British Council seems to think so.  Perhaps the element missing in the approach of these universities is a true commitment to diversity and international engagement.  That commitment would make a university’s efforts to attract international students more constructive and enduring.

For now, the number one priority for U.K. universities should be to mitigate the damage of this attack from the British Council.  The reverberations of this criticism could extend into the admissions cycle for next year.

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