New figures have revealed that the number of foreign students at UK's elite universities has nearly doubled in less than a decade, from around 39,000 in 2005/2006 to over 75,000 in 2013/2014 (the most recent figures available).
The figures revealed that:
- Out of the 24 Russell Group universities, Exeter saw the biggest increase, from 685 students to over 3,200 - a 378% jump.
- At Sheffield University, the number of Chinese students has swelled from 580 in 2005 to over 4,000 last year, representing a 590% increase.
- At Bristol University the population of Chinese and Malaysian students has also more than doubled over this period.
- In Glasgow, Brazilian students now represent 7% of the total student body, having been just 2% less than a decade ago.
However, there are concerns that the growing number of foreign students will lower the chances of British students attending certain universities in the UK - particularly Oxford and Cambridge. At Oxford, the number of UK student places dropped from 10,839 to 9,278; a trend mimicked in Cambridge, where places dropped from 10,014 to 9,578.
Mike Sewell, director of admissions for Cambridge, said that: "We are part of a world that is much more networked and interconnected... More and more young people see themselves as citizens of the world and they look at the very best universities."
Nonetheless, Nick Hillman, director of the Higher Education Policy Institute, said that "It is sad when international students displace British students and it looks from the figures that might be happening. Any reduction in the number of British students to Oxbridge is to be regretted."