The number of Indian students coming to Britain continues to grow despite soaring living costs and tuition fees, which is about to touch £10,000 a year even for institutions outside the golden triangle of Oxford, Cambridge and Imperial College.
In the past 12 months alone, postgraduate students from India have surged by a third. The total number of Indian students here is now set to cross 25,000. The fact is that British universities are relying increasingly on foreign students and academics in areas that the Government has identified as of strategic importance to the economy.
More than a fifth of students in key subjects such as science and engineering are from overseas, according to the annual trends report from Universities UK. This is worrying academics, economists and British companies.
A study showed that the numbers of foreign students at postgraduate level are particularly high, making up 71 per cent of taught post-graduate enrollments and 48 per cent on research programmes in some key subjects.
“The concern is that should these people return home, the flow of researchers will dry up. The important thing for UK universities now is not to have fewer researchers from abroad, but to build up more from the UK," said Geoffrey Crossick of Universities UK.