No government bailout for UK universities: The brief picture of Higher Education in ‘England’!

May 7, 2020 · blog

Pleas for a long term bailout made by the UK universities were turned down by the government. Instead, a package of 2.6 billion was announced in tuition fee payments. The package announced by the government will flush 2.6 billion in tuition fees that universities would have otherwise received at the beginning of the next academic year.

Michelle Donelan, the university minister said, “institutions could continue to charge the full £9,250 annual tuition fee for undergraduates while campuses remained closed and face-to-face classes were suspended as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, as long high standards of online teaching were maintained.”

Moreover, it was also made clear that students are not entitled to any refund of tuition fees. The announcement includes that education providers will be able to recruit full-time undergraduate UK and EU students for 2020-21 and plus an additional 5 percent.

However, research done by Sutton Trust has earlier suggested that some 19% of the domestic applicants were planning to defer their admission. This would leave a grave impact on the universities, as most international students would still be in double mind to fly before October.

It is well known that foreign students contribute a large amount to the national revenue and the universities depend on the self-funding students to carry on many research programs. According to the Auger Committee report, the universities spend an average of £500 per student for marketing. This further shows the real picture of a competitive market.

The advent of Covid-19 has surely created an extraordinarily unusual situation for the country, which has long been caught up in Brexit debates that might also endanger the number of European students in the UK. Although, the Department of Education made it clear that they are working with the Home Office ‘to expedite student visas’. What should the Indian students expect in this situation?

Indian students make one of the largest groups, with almost 27,000 students flew to the country for education in 2018-19. Although the UK has a strong Indian community, there are some reports that the lockdown has affected the Indian students stranded there and many students are also starving.

With the new situation in hand, the government of the UK would definitely want more students to take admissions there. The loss of foreign students would, of course, mean a drop in the research potential in UK institutions. But it is time for the consultants to rise up and guide students in this difficult time.

There will be mass-dissemination of unconditional offers from the universities to fill up the gap – but students should be cautious before accepting those offers. In return, the students must collectively demand more benefits from the sponsored universities, and revision of tuition fees must come before anything, especially for programs that are usually not considered vocational. Students should also expect better future possibilities from these universities in terms of further studies and researches.

This article is composed by QS IGAUGE.

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