UK Universities fear coronavirus impact

UK universities fear that the coronavirus impact on international students studying in the UK will have a dire impact on the level of funding universities have.

According to the Institute for Fiscal Studies, International Students represent one-third of all tuition, and with an estimated 50-100% drop in international student attendance, that would create a sizable gap in funding.

According to the 2019/20 UEA Facts and Figures, 15% of the UEA population are international students, with over 2500 overseas students. Universities UK (UUK), a union of 137 Universities, estimates possible losses of up to 6.9 billion pounds, with up to 790 million from losses relating to accommodation, conferences, and catering.

As a result, UUK has created a proposal for a government bailout and emergency funding. This proposal lays out a plan of doubling research funding to 4 billion pounds, and placing a cap on the level of incoming students, among other changes. This cap would be the current number of forecasted students plus 5%. Those students who already hold conditional offers would be guaranteed their places if said conditions were met.

Another proposal is to limit the amount of unconditional offers, which have become increasingly controversial in recent years. UCAS reported in 2019 that 7.8% of all offers were unconditional. This was up from 7.1% in 2018 with suggestions of universities more likely to scrap them. A survey, by the British Council, of 8,000 incoming Chinese students, showed that just 27% of students were unlikely to cancel their offer, with majority either undecided or very likely to cancel their offers which would be a blow for UK universities.

UUK’s chief executive, Alistair Jarvis, has said that without government support some universities were likely to go bankrupt.

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Matt Branston

Comment Editor - 2019/20

Co-Deputy Editor - 2020/21

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October 2021
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