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Universities: International Students

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Economy – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 3:00 pm on 25th October 2016.

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Photo of Simon Hamilton Simon Hamilton DUP 3:00 pm, 25th October 2016

The long-term sustainability of the university sector in Northern Ireland is incredibly important to get right. I have had discussions with Queen's University and Ulster University, and both put forward their own proposals for making the sector financially sustainable in the longer term. It is absolutely right that they contribute to the debate in that way because, after all, they want to remain world-class, world-leading universities. Of course, an important element of that is ensuring that they are financially sustainable. I have had conversations with them, and I will have conversations with Executive colleagues as well. The Member will appreciate that it is an issue that will require wider support, no matter what my views or my party's views are. We need to consider it carefully and take a decision in the not too distant future.