Over half of Cyprus higher education enrolments now foreign students
27,000 of 51,000 students in Cyprus higher education – more than half – in 2018-19 were foreign students, according to the Cyprus Ministry of Education.
Overall, the number of students attending higher education institutions in Cyprus has risen by 59% since 2013, to 51,000 students in 2019.
Of note, in the last set of data released prior to the current report, out of the 48,000 students attending Cypriot higher education colleges in the academic year 2017-18, half of these originated from EU and third countries (non-EU), a proportion that has since grown.
Financial Mirror reported that, speaking at the University of Cyprus graduation event, President of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades noted that Cyprus also has the second-highest higher education completion rate in the EU with 57.1%, compared to the EU average of 40.7%.
President Nicos Anastasiades said: “This fact is indicative of the quality and high level of our students and graduates, as well as of our academic institutions and the education they offer.”
Private college foreign students in Cyprus facing new immigration controls
However, despite these statistics, private colleges in Cyprus now face serious financial losses as a result of new immigration controls and restrictions regarding the number of third country non-EEA students that can be enrolled.
As reported by Cyprus Mail, the controls were imposed to combat students undertaking study in Cyprus ostensibly, before declaring asylum or undertaking a fake marriage to an EU citizen.
Colleges may face ‘significant’ financial losses
Frustrated college owners informed MPs that in many cases they have already received prospective students’ fees, but these restrictions meant that the individuals now could not be enrolled.
These limitations thus threaten to cause significant financial losses for colleges in Cyprus.
Mary Koutselini, Head of the Agency of Quality Assurance and Accreditation in Higher Education for Cyprus, stressed the importance of solving this problem.
Koutselini said: “It must be ensured that students will come to Cyprus because they want to study and not because they want to work or to marry.”
She also referred to an instance in a particular college that had around 800 students, yet none of whom could be found in the classroom during an inspection.
Kyriacos Hadjiyiannis MP, the Head of the House Education Committee, has likewise said that, although foreign students are important for the growth of tertiary education in Cyprus, rules must not be broken.
Pic: Burak K
Josephine Walbank is a reporter for Global Education Times (GET News) with a focus on education in the UK, Asia-Pacific, and Americas, and student experience and lifestyle news.
Josephine is an experienced journalist who previously served as the Editor-in-Chief of The Falmouth Anchor. She is also the former Deputy Editor of Voices, the Falmouth & Exeter Students’ Union’s publication, and has written for various food and lifestyle publications.
You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org