Numbers of international students at University of Northampton falls by 500 in five years
Fewer international students are studying at the University of Northampton compared to five years ago.
Latest figures show the number of non-EU students in Northampton has tumbled by over 500 since 2011.
This is a decline of 32 per cent, one of the biggest falls in international students for a university in the UK.
Matt Haines, assistant director for international relations at the university, said: “After changes to student visas restrictions in 2010, the majority of UK universities experienced a drop in student numbers, the University of Northampton included."
Representatives of the international education sector claim these falls have had a negative impact on both the university and the wider Northamptonshire economy.They are now calling for "a sensible, constructive approach to student visa reform."
A report by the Higher Education Statistics Agency said the number of non-EU students studying at the University of Northampton fell from 1,680 in 2011 to 1,135 in 2016, a drop of 545.However, the university also claims that since 2014 the number of international students choosing to study in the town has grown again.
James Pitman, managing director of Higher Education at Study Group, which provides educational programmes for international students, said:“What was one of Britain’s most important export sectors is now in decline, in direct response to the rhetoric and policy choices made by this Government.
"This undermines universities but also damages local businesses that serve international students.
“It is our vulnerable communities that are hurt the most. HESA data shows that cities with the weakest economies are the ones that are seeing the largest decline in student numbers.
"Ministers indicate that they want the UK to be an outward-facing, export-led economy, but they are doing real damage to local economies across the country by damaging our universities’ ability to export.”
Students are reckoned to inject in the region of Â£17million into the Northamptonshire economy, according to the University of Northampton.
Mr Haines said: "After completing their studies, these students play a key role in building relationships between Northampton’s export trade and industry and the organisations they go on to work for.
“Universities across the UK have seen that changes to visa regulations and the inclusion of international students within the net migration figures influence the attractiveness of studying in the UK for international students.
"We’re working closely with Universities UK to inform Government of the valuable contribution of international students and the need to remove international student numbers from this calculation.”
A total of 13 universities in the UK showed a decline in international students. The biggest was a drop of 3,450 students in Bedfordshire, a fall of over 65 per cent.