Saturday, 27 March 2010

Apparently, they're taking over our universities as well...

After the Mail tried to pretend primary schools were being over-crowded solely because of immigration, the Express has tried the same trick with universities:

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.


  1. Do you think it might ever cross what passes for a mind in these dick-heaed aerosols that there are UK students studying in the EU? Na.

  2. Richard - Good point. And no, they don't think about British people abroad - a point I made in the post about their benefits story the other day:

  3. As many commentators have pointed out, the same goes for immigration; there are more Brits abroad than "them lot" over here. Granted, we've got a larger geographical spread, though the deficit is still there.

    Unless you go to Spain or Australia, anyway.

  4. Ah, but Britons abroad are not foreigners, are they. Let alone immigrants or meteorology tourists. They're a civilising influence.

  5. Thought you might find this interesting:

  6. You do have to remember that some universities will take more foreign students that others - it's by no means an even spread over the country. However, as you prove - it is an pretty small percentage though. Foreign students are a good thing though. They give the UK students a chance to learn from someone from a different country giving them a more well rounded education. Besides, this issue is hardly *new*.

  7. even if the stats weren't all a bit twisted and misleading, UK universities need foreign (non EU) students as they pay higher fees and therefore bring more money into universities. as the political parties cut HE funding further and further, particularly in the arts, the more money brought in by students the better. and, in my opinion, the more diversity in the universities, the more chance for discussion with people from all over the world, the better.

  8. I was born a British citizen. On acount of my living in the Netherlands (where my parents were working) at the time I applied to British universities, I was classified as an overseas EU student interestingly enough. I'm going to guess a reasonable amount of these foreign students are 'expat' brats who were resident in another country when they applied.


Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment.

Comments are moderated - generally to filter out spam and comments wishing death on people - but other messages will be approved as quickly as possible.