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International students and developments

While the nature and scale of an institution’s international engagement varies, most HEIs are involved in one or more of the following: recruitment of international students, international collaborations or partnerships and development and management of offshore operations


The reason why international activity is of interest to a governing body is that an institution’s international strategy and ambitions often involve significant financial and reputational benefits and risks.

For instance, the recruitment of international students or engagement in international partnerships may be a deliberate strategy chosen to reduce the institution’s dependence on Home and EU students and diversity its sources of income. If successful a strategy may result in considerable financial and other benefits. However, if a strategy is unsuccessful, this may put pressure on the institution's overall finances. Further, as institutions are responsible for the standards of their awards regardless of where they are delivered, collaborations with an international partner carry risks in relation to quality assurance and reputational damage.

Additional Resources

Briefing note 7: International students and collaborations

The recruitment of international students wishing to study in the UK, international research collaborations and transnational education are all important aspects of international engagement in UK higher education. Each aspect involves opportunities and risk, and calls for effective leadership and governance.
Download the briefing note

Getting to grips guide

The Getting to Grips guides provide a comprehensive introduction and overview of key areas of higher education and the responsibilities of governors. Getting to Grips guides are available to Advance HE Members only.

Getting to Grips with Internationalisation provides an introduction on the topic for governors.
Download the guide

Find out about other areas of Governor responsibilities

Governor responsibilities