An independent inquiry by the Higher Education Commission predicts that the combination of:

  • Increasing fees
  • Banks less willing to fund post graduate study
  • Students less willing to take on further debt for post graduate study

will significantly reduce the demand for postgraduate education. Historically the market for postgraduate education was bolstered by international demand but new restrictions to immigration will weaken this demand.

Postgraduate enrolments by international students have increased by more than 200% since 1999 whilst enrolments by home and EU students have only increased by 18 %, marking a stagnation in domestic skill levels. Gaps are being filled temporarily by international students who return to their countries to build economic advantage. The UK, currently incapable of retaining these international students and unwilling to up-skill domestic students, will not be able to compete in the global market and will fail to achieve a high skills, high performance economy.

In order to brace the economy, the inquiry recommends that appropriate opportunities should be available for post-study work for highly qualified researchers and the Home Office should reduce the frequency of change to immigration regulations.