Vulnerable need care

13th August 2004 at 01:00
Dudley college in the West Midlands prides itself on the high level of support it offers its 16 to 19-year-old overseas students.

Every year it takes 4-600 full-time fee-paying students from as many as 38 countries. Students come mainly from East Africa, China, South America, India, Hong Kong and Russia.

They enrol on university preparation courses such as A-levels, foundation programmes and HNCs. Fees range from pound;4,500 to pound;5,500 per year.

They stay in halls or with local families. The college has on-site accommodation and welfare, social organisers and counsellors. The international office has nine staff.

Trevor Barr, the college's manager of international marketing, says that taking overseas students is a high-risk and enormous investment.

"You cannot just walk into it overnight," he said. "Overseas students who come to us at age 16 to 19 require enormous support - without that they become lost and their parents' investment is at risk. The students themselves are at risk if they are not well cared for."

The college recruits students via the British Council website and has a global network of agents. In 2001 it won two British Council awards for international marketing and student support.

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