While many universities in the UK are facing challenges in maintaining their international students in the face of the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Coventry University situated in central England is confident that it be able to endure the problems resulting from Covid and maintain their international students, who are a major source of income for the university.
What is the Current Situation of UK Universities?
While classes have been resumed partially online from mid-September, there have been strong efforts to maintain social distancing in the campus. The library can be accessed through a one-way route, which has a number of hand sanitiser stations. The students need to reserve a place and disinfect it with available wipes. While the use of masks is encouraged, it is not mandatory.
Socialisation opportunities have also been limited, with a number of welcoming events being held online, which poses a challenge for new students. Britain holds the worst position in Europe with around 42,000 deaths due to Covid-19, along with millions under restrictions due to the spread of the disease. Coventry University has been free from the spread of clusters of cases within the campus as seen in other British universities at the present.
International students from outside the EU have to pay significantly higher fees than students from the UK and the EU, which comprises a major source of income for the universities in the UK. International students make up around one-third of the student body at Coventry. Although registrations have gone down by half this year, the provost, Ian Dunn said that many students were opting for the offer to start from January or even May next year.
Although the UK application body UCAS has reported a 9% increase in the international UG applications this year, universities are still moving heavily towards online learning to retain their students. Nick Hillman, who is part of the Higher Education Policy Institute think tank, cautioned that registration data cannot ensure that all the students will turn up in reality, while adding that UCAS figures do not include PG applicants, who constitute a large chunk of international students in the UK.
Universities UK, a representative of higher education institutions, noted that it wasn’t clear whether the international students who have received admission offers will actually take them up. A spokesperson, in an email communicated that “we have a short window to convince undecided applicants that they can plan with confidence to study in the UK”.
Other institutions, such as the Queen’s University, Belfast, who are not in favour of leaving anything to chance, according to The Times had chartered a flight to bring in hundreds of international students from China.
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