Did our undergraduate numbers change overnight?
Last Saturday I went to bed as Vice-Chancellor of one of the world’s top 100 universities, with UK full-time undergraduate numbers up 11% (to 9,720) and international undergraduates up 41% (to 2,570) since 2008. Our achievements in research and teaching attracted the very best students from the UK and beyond, but that appeared to change overnight. The Sunday Times now claimed “at Warwick the number of undergraduates doing a first degree fell by 28% while non-EU undergraduates rose by 15%” and “British A-level students” were being discriminated against as universities took “more lucrative overseas students instead often with poorer qualifications”.
Had the world changed radically while I slept? No, there was still no cap on undergraduate numbers therefore no need to choose between countries’ students, rather undermining the story’s whole premise. We still insist on the same high academic standards from every part of the globe. Had our UK full-time undergraduate numbers tumbled overnight from being up 11% to down 28%? No, they are still up 11%. The journalist had used the wrong statistics and had not checked with us.
Warwick continues to offer great degrees to the very best students, from wherever they hail. Our data science BSc might be of particular interest to that journalist.