How UK universities will attract international students


UK universities have all the pieces in place to successfully attract international students after the pandemic, according to the analysis of a spokesperson for Universities UK International (UUKi). At the same time, Andy Howells, UKi’s deputy director of external affairs, cited the recent IDP Crossroads 4 survey calling for a “bolder, braver and stronger” approach in the coming months.

Although Canada remains the top education destination based on student perceptions, Howells believes UK universities have what it takes to rebuild British appeal. “IDP also points out that the propensity of prospective international students to change destinations to get what they want – for the majority, an on-campus experience – is high and continues to increase. There is an opportunity here for the UK, if only we can get these positive messages across, ”he urged.

Here’s a look at how attractive UK universities were during this time.

Will universities that go above and beyond to support students see better returns after the pandemic? Source: Niklas Halle’n / AFP

UK universities remain flexible

Not only has the UK kept its borders open to international students, UK universities are also extending distance learning concessions until April 6, 2022. This means that new international students can start studying at a distance (if health and visa protocols require it) without compromising their future work. rights.

Additionally, students who started remotely as early as fall 2020 have until September 27 to enter the UK and still qualify for the Graduate Route – which launched earlier this month. This gives students an additional three months to return to the UK; for many, it keeps their dream of looking for a job abroad alive.

Allowing students to start online and travel later has made it possible for UK universities to retain students and enroll new ones. The increase in the number of visa applications bears witness to this. For example, data from the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) shows a 30% increase in visa applications from Indian students alone.

Travel assistance during the pandemic

After India was added to the country’s “red list”, British universities offered to quarantine returning Indian students in their facilities and potentially cover their costs. In addition to this, several institutions have extended additional support measures to returning students with airport pickup. According to the IDP survey, 34% of UK students report having received physical and mental health support. Against a world average of 24%, one would assume that UK universities are doing better than most.

The well-being of international students was also addressed at a critical level through the Guidance for international students from London Higher and UUKi, released in March 2021. These measures were intended to equalize the eligibility of domestic and international students to “hardship funds, flexible and coordinated tuition payment plans, and proactive engagement with all students to ensure that they know what support is available and how to access it ”.

“This has helped us to be considered one of the best destinations to cater for international students by those who come, if not those still considering their arrival,” Howells noted. In addition, more than 50% of the UK population has been vaccinated, which shows promise for the recovery of the travel, retail and education sectors in the coming months. International students are also entitled to free vaccines.

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