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UK gathers evidence on int’l student support

The Office for Students in the UK wants universities and colleges to share what they are doing to support international students. 

The higher education regulator sector has asked for evidence of effective practice relating to international students Photo: pexels

The report follows a 5% drop in the number of international applicants accepting places at UK universities

The government’s higher education regulator, in partnership with the Department for Education and the UK Council for International Student Affairs, released a statement last month asking the higher education sector to submit evidence of effective practice relating to international students. 

The call is part of a joint project between the organisations to improve the integration and non-academic experiences of international students. 

The body says that “too little is known” about the experiences of international students and that it is particularly interested in work that is preventing sexual misconduct and responding to the pandemic, and says that the feedback “will ensure that international students are offered the best possible support”. 

“The OfS consultation couldn’t have come at a better time,” said Yinbo Yu, head of Engagement and Partnerships at UKCISA. “As we recover from the pandemic and gear up for an increase in international students studying in the UK, we must make sure that mechanisms are in place to support these students.

“We hope that this consultation will help the sector to gain further insight into the international student experience in England, improve best practice, and focus our work on areas that need it most.”

The report follows the 2021 National Student Survey, which found that international students are significantly less likely to feel part of their learning community compared to previous cohorts. 

“[International students] provide a diversity of viewpoints and knowledge which are invaluable”

Meanwhile, a separate survey conducted by the Higher Education Policy Institute and Kaplan found that almost half of international students felt that their universities and colleges were failing to satisfy their career support needs

“International students make a hugely important contribution to higher education,” said Nicola Dandridge, chief executive of the OfS.

“Not only do they provide a diversity of viewpoints and knowledge which are invaluable, they also make a significant social and cultural impact on their communities.

“It is vital that they have the support they need to have a fulfilling academic experience and to succeed.” 

The deadline for submissions of evidence, which can be made via the OfS website, is May 16 2022. 

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