London Met: BBC report “grossly misleading”

London Metropolitan University has hit back at claims by the BBC that its student numbers have almost halved this academic year but has admitted that its enrolment shortfall is “worrying”.

The BBC reported last week that the number of UK and EU students at the university had fallen from 11,000 last academic year to 6,000 currently in attendance.

A London Met spokesperson today said: “The BBC report is grossly misleading. They used new student numbers, not total student numbers. Our new numbers were always expected to fall significantly against our record recruitment last year, and we are currently at 75% of total target enrolment, which will rise further as we recruit more students in January.”

London Met reasoned that the figures were not comparable as the university had over-recruited in 2011-12 by around 1,600 home students – there was no cap on international students. It also indicated that January-enrolment students had been included in the 2011-12 figures but not in the figures for 2012-13. The difference in the number of law students enrolled in 2011-12 and 2012-13 is not yet known.

Vice-Chancellor professor Malcolm Gillies said: “To date we have achieved 84% of our autumn enrolment target for home and EU students, and 75% of our overall target.

“This shortfall is worrying for the university, but reflects a substantial recovery of position following the sector-wide dip in applications and recent action by the UKBA (UK Border Agency) to revoke our license to sponsor international students. There is still strong demand for London Met.”

London Met’s highly trusted sponsor status was revoked by the UKBA in August due to alleged failings regarding overseas students. The UKBA has stated that London Met neither monitored that standards of English among international students were high enough to receive student visas nor recorded lecture attendance. London Met has won the right to a judicial review.

Three weeks ago it emerged that over half of international students eligible to stay at the univeristy decided to leave. (18 October 2012)