THE University of York says it is not lowering its entry requirements for international students, but confirmed it is adopting a more flexible approach to offer holders who miss their grades.

The Russell Group university has clarified its position after it was reported that academics had been told of a decision to lower its tariff for overseas applicants.

According to the FT, staff received an email which said: “In response to the current financial challenges, the university has decided to lower its tariff for all departments and programmes for overseas applicants.”

A university spokeswoman said the approach to international students is in line with that it takes with UK applicants through the clearing system, and said the move “enables us to remain competitive in a global market”.

She said: “The university has not lowered its entry grades for international students and they remain as advertised.

“The change in ‘tariff’ refers to a more flexible approach we are adopting to international offer holders who miss their grades.”

She said: “Most of our international student intake are postgraduate students who have different qualifications to students in the UK.

“We use all of the data we have at our disposal to be able to make decisions about who will be able to succeed at York, and we have strong evidence to show that international students admitted through contextual decision-making do just as well in terms of graduate outcomes as other students.

“The extension of this contextual approach to international students is no different to the approach we take – and will continue to take – when we confirm places for UK students, and it enables us to remain competitive in a global market.”

Overseas students are crucial to many universities’ finances and concerns have been raised across the sector about the numbers of international students applying in the wake of a recent immigration policy changes.

Universities UK, which says international students make a net economic contribution to the UK of around £40 billion, said last month that it was concerned changes to skilled salary thresholds and the shortage occupation list could impact “universities’ ability to attract global talent”.

Further concerns have been raised about the impact of the move to restrict many overseas students from bringing their families to the UK, which was implemented earlier this month.