UK universities to review international student admissions

UK universities to review international student admissions

The UK Higher Education sector as the second most popular study destination in the world, is recognised for delivering outstanding academic education and world-leading research. With recent events, the Universities UK (UUK), the collective voice of 142 universities in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, released a statement last 2 February on fair admissions practices and agent behaviour. It also stated a comprehensive review of university admissions processes. 


“There has been a significant focus on recruitment practices relating to international students in recent weeks,” Universities UK said. Universities UK’s decision to review admissions processes stems from a dedication to creating a more welcoming space for international students. Amid recent concerns, universities are eager to showcase the positive contributions of international students and highlight the enriching experiences they bring to campuses. 


In a proactive move to address concerns surrounding the recruitment of international students, the UUK Board has initiated three immediate actions to ensure that the system is “fair, transparent and robust”, and instils confidence in students, their families, and the government: 


  1. Commission the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) to “undertake a rapid review of [International Foundation Programmes].” which primarily involves comparing the criteria for International and Domestic Foundation Programmes, specifically concentrating on admission requirements. 
  2. Conduct a review of the Agent Quality Framework (AQF) which focuses on the “checks and balances” when universities enlist the assistance of agents to help recruit international students. 
  3. Strengthen and review the sector’s Admissions Code of Practice which sets out expectations for university processes in order to clearly indicate its application to international recruitment and make necessary updates. 


UUK’s initiative to review the quality framework for education agents and admission requirements for international foundation programs is a positive stride towards improving the international student experience. This move is aimed to enhance quality recruitment and fortify education agents in also ensuring a supportive and safe environment for international students. It also reaffirms the country’s stance to solve challenges and guarantee the fulfilling experiences of international students remain at the forefront of higher education priorities.  


As universities navigate the dynamic landscape of higher education, there is a compelling need to address and respond to a narrative that has captivated public attention and garnered the interest of policymakers. The path for transparency and quality in admissions processes reflects the sector’s dedication to fair admissions and agent behaviour.  


To know more about study options and our partner institutions across Europe, please visit our upGrad GSP platform or contact our Business Development Managers for more information. 

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