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Title: Non-EU international students in UK higher education institutions : prosperity, stagnation and institutional hierarchies
Author: Mateos-Gonzalez, Jose Luis
ISNI:       0000 0004 8501 5892
Awarding Body: Durham University
Current Institution: Durham University
Date of Award: 2019
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This thesis investigates the relationship between the distribution of non-European Union (EU) international students across the UK higher education sector and the characteristics of UK higher education institutions (HEIs) and the strategies they may pursue to make their provision more attractive to non-European Union (EU) international students. It looks at how this relationship has evolved since 1995/96, analysing the recruitment patterns of individual HEIs in relation to policy changes that may impact the number of students coming to UK higher education from outside the EU. To do so, I analyse an exceptionally large dataset, produced by UK's Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA), containing information on over 35 million higher education students covering a 22-year period. This study represents the first systematic longitudinal analysis of recruitment patterns of non-EU international students in UK HEIs for the past two decades. My analysis shows that UK institutional hierarchies play a pivotal in explaining the uneven distribution of non-EU internationals students across HEIs, particularly in policy environments that seek to restrict mobility. Understanding this unevenness is critical considering the terms in which non-EU international students are recruited in UK higher education. This subset of students represents a substantial resource -both financial and symbolic- in the sector, as they tend to pay higher fees than their domestic counterparts and are perceived as a marker of institutional prestige, as attested in some global league tables. Thus, the observed inequalities between institutions in terms of their shares of students who are non-EU international -with more prestigious HEIs overwhelmingly having higher shares- contribute to longstanding resource and prestige disparities in UK higher education. Moreover, this thesis investigates whether the position of universities within UK institutional hierarchies allows us to understand the strategies HEIs pursue to make their provision more attractive to non-EU international students. Drawing from the Bourdieusian concept of 'field of power' (1993) and its development by Marginson (2008), I argue that the position of a given 8 university in a hierarchy will shape their 'space of possibles' (Bourdieu 1993: 30; Marginson 2008: 307), that is the strategies that they may follow to successfully recruit non-EU international students. Previous research suggests that universities that recruit non-EU international students as a result of marketising their educational offering to a global audience, pitch their products to particularly lucrative markets, which results in certain institutions having particularly high concentrations of certain nationalities in certain subjects (Findlay et al. 2017). However, as I show in this thesis, the extent to which HEIs engage in these practices vary depending on their position in UK's institutional hierarchy.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available