UK ‘can catch’ US on international student numbers

In a new interview with The PIE News, Lord Karan Bilimoria reminded that there is a “global race” for international students, and that the UK should not stop at reaching a target of 600,000 international students a decade early.

Lord Bilimoria repeated a call to The PIE to introduce a new target of hosting one million international students in the UK by 2030.

“We’ve now, I’m proud to say, crossed that 600,000 target well ahead of time,” he told The PIE.

“Now that we have reached 600,000 in 2022. We should go for million by 2030.”

“[Under] this one million target there would be many more Indian students”

While the UK and the US offer different experiences, “they’re both excellent”, with the countries’ institutions often ranked top in the world, he continued.

He also added that the UK’s recently-reintroduced post-study work opportunities are a huge draw for prospective international students.

“The numbers of Indian students are just escalating now… [under] this one million target there would be many more Indian students,” he added.

Lord Bilimoria also spoke of the transnational opportunities he sees in India, suggesting that Birmingham would “certainly be interested” in building a campus there in the future.

Others have recently formulated alternative options for the UK to head towards after hitting its recruitment target.

At a Westminster Higher Education Forum policy conference on February 8, former UK minister of State for Universities Jo Johnson spoke of ensuring sustainability rather than aiming for further immediate growth.

“Personally, I think before we’ve sort of push on and set new targets of 900,000 or one million… I think we need to just ensure that we have a sustainable base from which to build,” he said.

“That, to me is critical so that we don’t so we don’t lose the gains that we’ve made in policy terms over recent years.”

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