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UK: 5% of Indian students may defer – survey

A study by NISAU has found that 5% of Indian students with offers to UK universities plan to defer. Photo: Pexels

“Some 61% of respondents said they were worried about whether it will be safe to travel”

NISAU’s research was done to show what the impact of Covid-19 has been on Indian students and how it might affect their decisions around coming to the UK to study. 

“The message is very clear – Indian students wish to continue to come to the UK”

The survey was conducted in early June and received 313 responses from Indian students across 20 States and UTs in India. 

Other key findings were that 80% of respondents said they would not accept their offer if learning for the entire next year moved online.

This number reduced to around 55% if there was an initial period of online learning followed by on-campus teaching and if the fees were discounted to take into account the online period. 

“The message is very clear – Indian students wish to continue to come to the UK, but certain requirements must be met,” said NISAU founder and chairperson, Sanam Arora.

“Based on our survey results and on speaking with many prospective Indian students, we believe that the forecasted negative impacts on British universities can be mitigated – if the requirements of Indian students can be placed at the heart of higher education policymaking.

“In fact, we think that the numbers of Indian students coming to the UK can significantly increase after an initial temporary reduction, but this requires a system that proactively delivers for students. We look forward to continuing to support Indian students and British universities.”

All respondents who took the survey were considering commencing studies in the UK from September 2020 and most had offers from British universities.

Although the survey had a relatively small number of respondents, Sanam told The PIE News that the number of Indian students who were given Tier 4 visas to enter the UK in 2019 was around 30,000

This means that if 2020 numbers are equal to 2019, then the survey would account for roughly one in every 95 Indian students.

Securing a post-study work visa, and obtaining some international work experience were important factors when it came to Indian students choosing where to study.

Some 77% of respondents said that this is one of their primary reasons for choosing the UK as a study destination.

While the survey may show that Indian students still want to come to the UK, uncertainty around the pandemic may still cause problems.

Half of the respondents said they are yet to decide on their course of action. NISAU said that the reasons for this are concentrated around safety amidst the ongoing Covid-19 situation and receiving partial or unclear information from universities. 

Some 61% of respondents said they were worried about whether it will be safe to travel and almost 68% said they had not received clear communication about how their program would run from Sep/Oct. 

But so long as these issues can be resolved, the UK could be set to receive a good proportion of the market share for Indian students, according to Arora.

Arora told The PIE that the US’ decision to restrict fully-online study for internationals, may increase the number of Indian students who come to the UK to study.

“We all know what is happening in the states. With that context in mind, there are about 200,000 Indian students that go to the states every year. We believe there is a significant opportunity there,” she said.

“Even if the UK was to target just those going to the US, and if they took just a 10% cut of students who would otherwise have gone to the US, you are already well on your path to doubling the number of Indian students who come to the UK,” Arora added.

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