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Bible colleges can take more overseas students

03 August 2012

THE London School of Theology (LST) will be able to admit significantly more international students next year after passed a tougher inspection process, which was introduced by the Government last year.

The Government announced that, from April this year, private colleges wishing to sponsor "Tier 4 students" (those from outside the EU) would need to be classified as a "Highly Trusted Sponsor", and be accredited by a new inspection body, the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) ( News, 14 October).

As a result of the changes, for the academic year 2011-12, LST had to limit the number of "Tier 4 students" that it admitted to 29, because it had not yet been accredited by the QAA. Last week, after a successful review by the QAA, the restriction was lifted by the UK Border Agency. The college hopes to admit more than 50 "Tier 4" students for the academic year 2012-2013.

International Christian College (ICC), in Glasgow, has also passed the QAA review, meaning that its restriction on admitting students from outside the EU has been lifted. The Principal of ICC, the Revd Richard Tiplady, said: "Insights from the worldwide Church enrich the experience of all our students, and we look forward to re-establishing a truly international student community at ICC."

But Bible colleges are unhappy that their international students are not allowed to work part-time while studying, or bring their families with them to the UK, as they would be at publicly funded universities.

The Dean of Nazarene Theological College, Dr Peter Rae, said that the rules discouraged "Ph.D. students from coming here full-time, as facing three or four years away from family is not an attractive prospect".


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