The UK’s competitors have also capitalised on some of the drawbacks of the UK higher education sector, which include the cost of studying in the UK, the lack of scholarships, teaching assistantships, research assistantships, Home Office regulations and the difficulty in finding employment in the UK on completion of study (UKCGE 1999, Baldwin and James 2000).
The cost of undertaking a degree in the UK is considered to be higher than its competitors, considering some do not impose an international student tariff, which presents cost advantages to potential international students. Another key factor in the decline of the UK higher education sector are the Home Office regulations which determine whether international students can secure paid employment on completion and during the period of study (Mortimer 1997). However, prior to 1999 international students could only work if they got permission from the authorities, and even after that the number of hours they could work was limited to 20 hours per week. Even after completing the educational programme, international students still face strict work permit regulations which do not seem to take into account the initial investment into the economy (Psacharopoulos and Patrinos 2002). These very factors are the same ones being used to market other institutions to international students, as other countries come up with ways and develop their higher education sectors to take advantage of the UK’s shortcomings.