Announced at the UKCISA conference this week in Brighton, the grant scheme will support both pilot projects and research that will help to enhance the experience of international students at universities, colleges and student unions.
“Most people want to get back into making sure that the UK gives the best international student experience”
Dominic Scott, chief executive of UKCISA, said that as much of the dialogue within the UK education sector is centred on visa-related issues, it’s time to flip the discussion.
“We’re going to have to address these visa related things because it’s essential,” he told The PIE News.
“But actually most people want to get back into making sure that the UK gives the best international student experience, or better than any other competitor.”
UKCISA members can submit a proposal for one of the 10 pilot project grants of up to £2,000, or one of two research grants of up to £5,000.
According to the UKCISA website, the recipients of the grants will also be required to present their findings “for the benefit of the membership as a whole”.
The scheme is currently set to run this year and next year, and Scott admits that while there’s a lot of work to be done, it will help to widen the agenda.
“I think it will be quite a good signal domestically and internationally to say this is important and we’re going to work with institutions to turn things around,” he said.
Scott’s comments were also echoed by Baroness Usha Prashar, who stepped down as president of UKCISA after nine years in her role.
In her leaving speech at the conference, she urged delegates not to not lose sight of the value of international students.
“It’s important to not forget that international students are not just for the economic benefit of the country, there is a real value of international education and international students and we must keep the narrative going,” she said.
Lord Karan Bilimoria has been appointed the new UKCISA president.