Skip to main content

Turing Scheme

Question for Department for Education

UIN 133977, tabled on 6 January 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what assessment he has made of the effect on higher education of the Turing Scheme not providing funding for incoming foreign students.

Answered on

15 January 2021

In deciding to launch the Turing scheme as an alternative to Erasmus+, the Government carefully considered the benefits of Erasmus+ and a domestic alternative scheme including cost and our ambitions for a global scheme that supports social mobility. On cost, Erasmus+ participation would have entailed a net cost in the region of £2 billion more than we received from the programme in funding over the seven-year period and an annual gross contribution of £600 million. As such we do not consider Erasmus+ participation to be value-for-money and in the interests of the UK taxpayer.

The design of the Turing scheme will be driven by our ambition for a truly global UK-wide scheme that promotes social mobility and provides excellent value for money for the taxpayer. These principles underpin the decision-making on the design of the scheme, including the decision not to fund inward mobility.

The Government has carefully considered whether to fund inward mobility as part of the scheme design, including through discussions with the sector, and is confident that students will continue to want to study in the UK. The UK is a world-leading destination for study and research, with four universities in the world’s top 10 and 18 in the top 100. The UK is currently second only to the USA as a destination for international HE students with approximately 486,000 students from abroad and has been one of the most popular destinations within Erasmus+.

It is clear that we have considerable appeal as a destination and partner in international mobilities and exchanges. We will harness this to deliver an international education exchange programme that has a genuinely global reach, establishing new relationships with academic institutions across Europe and the rest of the world.

In terms of direct income to higher education providers, we expect tuition fees to be waived for Turing scheme participants consistent with the arrangements for Erasmus+.

More generally, the International Education Strategy update, will respond to the COVID-19 context, challenges, and opportunities setting out how the Government will support the whole of the UK’s education sector in the recovery of its international activity in pursuit of the original IES ambitions to increase the value of our education exports to £35 billion per year, and to increase the number of international higher education students hosted in the UK to 600,000 per year, both by 2030.​