The last couple of months have been challenging for universities all over the world. Universities have had to quickly innovate and come up with new ideas to attract international students or risk going out of business.
Many experts have stressed the fact that international students are a major source of income for universities. Attracting international students during the current scenario is on the agenda for every university, especially those in the UK.
In the UK, international students make up almost 20% of the student population, whereas, in other countries like the US, the percentage of international students is close to 5-6%. Such is the influence of international students in the UK that Universities UK, the body that represents British higher education, has warned universities of a potential drop in revenue to the tune of £7 billion. This makes up a third of all tuition fees from international students.
So, are universities in the UK doing anything to make up for the potential loss in revenue?
Absolutely. Apart from seeking external stimulus from the Government, universities in the UK are closely monitoring the situation and trying to ease admission criteria. This is a welcome move to students who prefer the whole experience of moving to a new country as opposed to learning online.
Here are some ways universities are changing their admission criteria –
Relaxation in entry requirements
Many universities have lowered their entry requirements, as this is one facet of the admission process that is entirely under a university’s control. One of the most apparent measures that universities can take to attract international students is lowering language entry requirements. This enables universities to take on good students who have met other requirements. But universities should also take care to see that a complete support plan is in place to ensure students receive adequate assistance to develop these skills to the desired level upon arrival.
The month of May is usually the time for students to decide which university in the UK they wish to attend. However, due to the pandemic, many UK universities are extending their deadlines so that students have sufficient time to weigh up their options and make an informed decision. Universities are also aware of the fact that the virus has posed as a stumbling block for students in securing loans and other financial aid. With an increasing number of visa appointment cancellations and embassy closures globally, students need time to decide their next course of action.
Waived application fee
Most universities in the UK charge students an “application fee” that can be anywhere from £25 to £150. As many applicants rely on financial aid to support their further educational journey, any concession in fees provides some much-needed respite for students. It is essential to listen to students to understand how attending university can be a viable financial choice for them, especially during this current economic climate.
Flexible study options
In a bid to stay on track with the current academic year, many universities are working hard to improve the flexibility of their learning options to avoid any potential delays in the commencement of studies. Some universities in the UK, Australia, the US and Canada have allowed students to study the first year of their degree remotely in their home country and then relocate to the institute’s campus, once things are back to normal.
Flexibility in January intake
Traditionally, many universities in the UK have a September and a January entry point. But the January enrolment for most institutes is quite less. One way of coping with the pandemic is to be more flexible with both the September and January intakes. Many experts have stated that universities that have flexible start dates will have greater success in attracting new students.