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Government raises foreign student quota to 200,000

The Russian government plans to increase the quota for international students studying at domestic higher education institutions by 30% this year – up to 200,000 places, according to the official press service.

This has been confirmed by Lyudmila Ogorodova, Russia’s deputy minister of education and science, who is the person responsible for implementing the plan.

The government has not ruled out the possibility of expanding the international student quota further in the coming years.

Ready for expansion

Ogorodova commented: “We have approved a proposal to increase the quota for foreign students this year. Domestic universities are currently ready to take such a number of foreigners.

“Those investments which have been made by the state in university infrastructure, and in particular domestic science and education, in recent years have made it possible to develop programmes in English and to prepare English-speaking teachers.”

According to Ogorodova, many large domestic universities currently file quota applications that far exceed the 150,000 places that are available today.

It is planned that, of the 200,000 quota places, up to 20,000 places will be state-funded.

According to the government, growing the number of foreigners studying in Russia should be considered a process of “formation of pro-Russian national elites” who will promote Russian interests in their homelands after their graduation.

According to the Ministry of Education and Science, medicine and biotechnology are currently among the most in-demand study fields for foreign students at Russian universities.

A ministry spokesperson said that in contrast to previous years, when demand for studying in Russia was mostly from former states of the Soviet Union, in recent years there had been significant increases in interest from students in Southeast Asia and Latin America.

Visa regime eased

The Ministry of Education and Science has also announced plans to ease the visa regime for international students entering Russia.

This will be enabled by the adoption of a package of amendments that, among other things, will allow international students to apply for a visa only once, rather than twice – for entrance exams and for enrolment.

In the case of state-funded places, currently the process of selecting foreign students is coordinated by the Federal Agency for the Commonwealth of Independent States, Compatriots Living Abroad and International Humanitarian Cooperation, known as Rossotrudnichestvo.

The agency receives study applications, and offers tests on core subjects. Successful applicants draw up a list of six Russian universities where they would like to study. Among the most popular institutions are Moscow State University, Saint Petersburg State University, the National Research University Higher School of Economics and the Peoples' Friendship University of Russia.
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