International students paid over £29m in course fees to attend Northern Ireland’s two universities over a two year period, it was revealed yesterday.
One student paid a staggering £21,830 for one year of a clinical course (medicine and dentistry) at Queen’s University, Belfast, during 2007/08.
The figures have been released following a request from the Belfast Telegraph.
During the 2006/07 and 2007/08 years, the University of Ulster was paid £5.7m in fees by overseas students, while Queen’s financial intake from international students for the same period was more than double, at £13.5m.
The average fee paid by international students at Queen’s during 2007/08 was £9,323 — compared with £3,145 a year for UK or EU-based students.
At the UU, the current fees for overseas students range from £8,500 for an undergraduate degree, to £10,701 for an MBA.
There were a total of 834 international (non-EU) students enrolled at Queen’s during the 2007-08 academic year and 1,145 at the UU.
A spokesman for Queen’s University said: “Queen’s is committed to welcoming international students and ensuring they have the best possible university experience.
“International students strengthen Queen’s position in the student market, enrich the student experience, give local undergraduates the opportunity to learn from diversity and provide them with international connections which will be crucial to their future careers.
“A comprehensive support package is in place to welcome |international students to Queen’s and to Northern Ireland and there is a special orientation programme for all international students.”
A spokesman for the UU said: “Our international students are asked to ensure that they have sufficient funds available to cover accommodation, food, text books etc, and we suggest that in order to do this they need a minimum of £125 per week.
“Also, the vast majority of our international students are successful in finding part-time job opportunities and so are contributing to our economy.”