Hong Kong may see an influx of mainland students under the government's plan to attract more students from outside the SAR to local campuses. Secretary for Education and Manpower Arthur Li Kwok-cheung announced yesterday that the quota for non-local undergraduates and taught masters students would be raised to 4 per cent of funded positions, from the current 2 per cent. Non-local students currently only make up 1.5 per cent of the allowed quota. There could be as many as 580 non-local undergraduates and taught masters students if the future quota is filled. The current ceiling on the number of research postgraduate students from outside the SAR will also be removed. Existing regulations limit the number of non-local students to a maximum one-third of the research postgraduate population. The vast majority of non-local students in Hong Kong are from the mainland. Professor Li said an increased intake of non-local students was needed to help local institutions become world-class. 'Institutions have to have the best students to be able to compete at an international level,' said Professor Li. 'We will discuss giving further flexibility and incentives to institutions in recruiting non-local, self-financed undergraduate students.' University heads have always supported a relaxation of the non-local student quota. The vice-chancellor of the University of Hong Kong, Professor Tsui Lap-chee, noted earlier that the pool of top students was limited in a small place like Hong Kong. He also revealed HKU was seeking to recruit more self-financed students from the mainland. The president of City University, Chang Hsin-kang, said the official quota should be scrapped in the long run.