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Students not aware of UK policy changes – QS

The majority of international students seem not to be aware of some of the UK’s friendlier policies, or whether EU fee status has been confirmed, a QS survey has revealed.

Universities need to ensure information is accessible on their website. Photo: rawpixel/pixabay

Uncertainty surrounding Brexit makes students uncertain whether the information is reliable

Conducted on 67,172 students, of which 28,020 said they were considering studying in the UK, the survey highlighted areas of “missed opportunities” for UK international recruitment.

“It’s a difficult situation for university recruiters in the UK”

About 74% of respondents said they didn’t know whether their country qualified for the fast-track student visa, which was widened in July. When informed of the scheme, 60% of students who would qualify for it said that it made them more interested to study in the UK.

Among EU students, 63% were unaware of the fact that EU fee status and loan eligibility had been confirmed for students starting in 2019.

Commenting on the news, Study.EU founder Gerrit Bruno Blöss told The PIE News there is “definitely a lack of information” regarding the fast-track visa, with many students not aware of its existence.

As for EU students, the uncertainty surrounding Brexit makes them nervous about whether information is reliable, he added, prompting them to seek alternatives.

“Users on Study.EU who research study options in the UK also often look at universities in Ireland, the Netherlands, or Germany. It’s a difficult situation for university recruiters in the UK,” he said.

Ensuring that the right information is accessible to students is a task in the hands of universities, QS spokesperson Jack Moran told The PIE. As the first port of call for international students, an institution’s website is the most important tool, he added.

“Our research implies that students are more likely to receive information from institutional, not governmental channels,” he explained.

“Universities also have the opportunity to control – to a decreasing but still significant extent – the messaging that students receive when they go in search of information.”

Finally, institutions need to also strengthen their collaboration with national and international media to ensure that information is circulated via mainstream media in countries affected by policy changes, “with a view to stressing the openness of the UK’s higher education system,” Moran concluded.

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