Oil price drop fallout could hit UK universitiesPosted: February 25, 2015
In recent years, UK universities have been able to rely upon a generously funded recruitment well – students backed by government-funded scholarships in oil producing countries, underwritten by 100 dollar a barrel revenues. But the oil price collapse to 60 dollars a barrel may mean this is a stream that is set to run dry. HEFCE data published this week shows that in 2013, Iraq rose to become the third largest contributing country for postgraduate research students in the UK, with 610 entrants, almost double the 2012 intake. Libya rose by 37 per cent to 245 entrants. Increases in government sponsorships account for most of the growth. Deutsche Bank and IMF figures quoted by the BBC show Libya requiring an oil price of 184 dollars a barrel to balance their national budget. Iraq requires 101 dollars a barrel. An oil price recovery to 100 dollar a barrel levels is unlikely inside 5 years, say analysts, with US shale oil producers pumping 4 million barrels a day into the market, and Saudi Arabia unwilling to support cuts in Middle East production. Many consequences are emerging from the oil price drop. It is possible that some of the effects could extend to UK HE. — UK NARIC will be presenting data and analysis on new and alternative prospective markets for student recruitment at our Emerging International Markets seminar event in London on March 13.