London: For the Indian students seeking admissions in top universities of UK, being a little less qualified than their British counterparts may no longer be a problem, thanks to the power of purse.
Some top-ranking UK universities are willing to accept applicants from India and China who are less meritorious than those from Britain, according to a report today.
The cash-strapped universities are bending the rules to admit international students who, unlike British students, pay the full 27,000 pounds fees for an arts degree, The Sunday Times has claimed.
Admission tutors for different undergraduate courses at Edinburgh, Manchester and Sheffield told the newspaper they would be prepared to accept an international applicant who had failed to achieve the normal A-level requirements for their course.
The tutors — who thought they were talking to the guardian of a 17-year-old Chinese student studying A-levels at a top private boarding school in England — said international students did not always have to meet the academic rules that applied to other applicants.
The report quoted one vice-chancellor saying that overseas students were displacing home students at some of the top universities which did not physically have the space to expand.
“The government has created a perverse incentive that means international students bring in more money than UK students,” he said.
Oxford University is reducing its intake of home and European Union students from 11,000 to 10,000, while increasing overseas numbers from 8% to 15% by 2010.
It insisted that its motive is not financial but to increase the calibre of its students.
Universities earn far less from UK and European students even with the government grant and fees of 9,000 pounds for a three-year degree.
International students generate more than two billion pounds a year in fees for higher education, but universities state publicly that foreign students have to be as good as other potential undergraduates.
While some universities refused any concessions for overseas students, three told the undercover reporter that they might be treated “more leniently”.