Laura Holland's article begins:
British students are being squeezed out of places at university by Europeans, it emerged yesterday.
Hmm, are they really?
Figures from the Higher Education Statistics Agency show that the number of students from the European Union increased by almost five per cent last year to 118,000...
Altogether, 588,689 people applied for undergraduate courses, but more than 100,000 failed to get in.
See what she did there? An increase of foreign students to over 100,000 and a similar number of failed applications and therefore one must be the result of the other.
Unfortunately, Holland's grasp of statistics is woeful, either through ignorance or through wilfully trying to create an immigration scare.
For a start, the number of failed applications must include foreign students but she doesn't seem to take account of that.
Then there's that 118,000 figure. The real figure is actually 117,660 but that is the total number of EU students (excluding UK and Ireland) in higher education in the UK in 2009.
But why is she comparing that with the number of new and/or failed applications? That's a meaningless and misleading comparison.
Out of a total student body of 2,396,050, that figure of 117,660 amounts to 4.9%. Add in the 251,310 students from the rest of the world and that means only 15.4% of uni students are not domiciled in the UK or Ireland.
Now let's take her figure of 588,689 applications. This is actually a 2008 figure so not only is she not comparing like with like, but she's not even using figures from the same year.
The 2009 figure for applications was 639,860.
The number of those that were accepted was 481,854.
And of those, 20,984 were from the EU and 32,984 from the rest of the world. That's only 11% of the total number of accepted applications - a smaller percentage than in the student body as a whole.
Moreover, the increase in the number of foreign students (EU and world) accepted in 2009 compared to 2008 is only 4,974.
To put that in context, the increase in the total number of rejected applications from 2008 to 2009 is 25,944.
Therefore, the increase of 2,230 EU students can't seriously be described as being responsible for 'squeezing out' British students.
Unless you work for the Express.