Britain’s universities minister acknowledged in a speech on Thursday that the government’s sudden revocation last month of London Metropolitan University’s license to enroll international students had taken a toll on the country’s international reputation. The decision, which affected some 2,700 international students, drew worldwide attention, and in his speech at the annual conference of the vice chancellors’ association, David Willetts said that the government had since taken steps “to signal that we remain open to overseas students.”
He announced the creation of a £2-million fund to help affected students with incidental costs, such as those incurred in moving to other universities or in applying for a new visa. He also said that the government would continue to count international students in overall immigration numbers, which it has pledged to reduce. But in the future, the government would publicize student numbers separately in order to better inform the contentious debate over immigration, which has highlighted divisions between the governmental departments responsible for immigration and universities.