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New rules will cut number of exchange students

Copenhagen hit hard, as science ministry says it will uphold strict balance between incoming and outgoing student numbers

Strict government guidelines will cut the number of exchange students coming to Copenhagen and Denmark, according to Danish newspaper Information and University World News .

The new, stricter, interpretation of government regulations will mean that universities will be forced to balance incoming and outgoing exchange students.

This is bad news for the University of Copenhagen as it has more incoming than outgoing students. According to the media sources, it may lose DKK 22 million in government funding if it is forced to balance student numbers in 2011.

Danish taxpayers should not pay

Danish taxpayers should not have to pay for educating foreign students in Denmark, the government regulators say.

»Internationalisation and student exchanges have a high priority, but at the same time we have to ensure that Danish taxpayers’ money does not to an inappropriate degree pay for foreign universities’ educational programmes,« says Rune Skov Hansen, head of section at the government agency, the Danish University and Property Agency.

Following the new rules, universities will not be able to get funding for the number of foreign students that exceed a set quota. The quota will be set by the number of Danish students taking up study places abroad on a bilateral agreement of cooperation between the Danish and foreign universities.

Pointless to turn away students

Danish university administrators say to the media that the new stricter policy is a break with previous government policies that were more positive towards internationalisation.

»The requirement of an economical balance between incoming and outgoing students is included in the law, but has not been strictly enforced until now,« says John Edelsgaard Andersen, director of the International Office at the University of Copenhagen.

He warns that »it is pointless to turn away foreign students which we have worked hard for, through international collaboration arrangements over the years«.

Large numbers will be rejected

The University of Copenhagen and the Technical University of Denmark DTU will be hardest hit by the new regulation. Copenhagen has a surplus of 700-800 students, according to Andersen.

Large numbers of incoming students from EU countries like Germany, France and Spain will be rejected as a result of the new tighter enforcement of the rules, according to Andersen.

In total, there were 6,100 foreign exchange students at Danish universities but only 4,500 Danish students going abroad.

In addition 13,500 foreign students are studying for a full-degree in Denmark. Full degree students will not be affected by the stricter enforcement of regulations.

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