UK Government Student Controls

The RSE, in partnership with the Learned Society of Wales and the Royal Irish Academy have published the following statement in response to the UK Government’s announcement to place controls on the number of students who can be recruited by universities in academic session 2020/21. While having been introduced by the UK Department for Education, the student number controls will also apply to England-domiciled students studying at institutions in the devolved administrations.


As the national scholarly academies for Scotland, Wales and the island of Ireland we are concerned with the UK Government’s recent announcement on controlled numbers for English domiciled students.

We appreciate the UK Government’s wish to ensure stability within English HEIs. However, the announcement by the Department for Education in England effectively puts controls on institutions based in the devolved nations, rather than work​ing with the devolved governments to find an appropriate four-nation solution for student admissions. Subsequently, it has failed to address the concerns raised by governments, universities and other organisations outside England.

This demonstrates a worrying lack of consideration of devolution, and we strongly urge the Minister for Universities to engage more closely with her counterparts in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales to support higher education across the UK at this time.