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UK: int’l students facing financial hardship ‘rising’

Universities across the UK should be opening specialist hardship funds for international students a report has suggested, after finding that international students are “frequently flagged as being at risk” with regards to financing.

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The students’ union at Newcastle shares cost-of-living support via a WeChat account, mainly for its Chinese students

The How to Beat a Cost-of-Learning Crisis: Universities’ Support for Students report from the Higher Education Policy Institute also says government advice for international students on living costs in the UK needs to be adjusted.

HEPI suggests that companies allowing overseas applicants to misrepresent their available funds need to be “eradicated”.

During the research, HEPI found that international students were “frequently flagged as being at risk”, which it said was surprising, given they need to prove they have enough financial support during the application process.

“Almost every finance team” told researchers stories of international students borrowing money for proof of funds or that students had found government recommendations on spending requirements insufficient.

The government requires students to show £1,334 per month for courses in London and £1,023 per month outside of the capital to support themselves.

HEPI also said companies had loaned money to students in exchange for a fee to help them meet financing requirements. The PIE has previously identified companies offering those options, which stakeholders say they discourage students from using.

The report says that this resulted in students being “increasingly under-financed” when they arrive in the UK.

The cost-of-living crisis, the 20-hour limit on work hours and the requirement for full funding meaning university hardship funds are off limits to many international students are also exacerbating issues, it adds.

Universities such as Greenwich, De Montfort and Warwick have used OfS funding to create new or top-up existing hardship funds for international students, while the students’ union at Newcastle shares cost-of-living support via a WeChat account, mainly for its Chinese students.

The statistical analysis of 140 university responses and interviews with nearly 60 university professionals also found that some 27% universities operate a food bank, including a third of Russell Group universities. It does not say however if or how often they are used by international students.

Universities are “stepping up” as students face financial difficulties, but more needs to be done, said author of the report, Josh Freeman. He explained that the research found that financial difficulties are a growing problem for international students in the UK.

“Universities should streamline bureaucratic hardship funds”

“Universities should streamline bureaucratic hardship funds and set up processes to move more quickly,” he said, but the report also questions whether universities should be the ones plugging student finance gaps.

Speaking with The PIE, Freeman emphasised that government advice for international students needs to be updated to reflect the accurate cost of living in the UK. The universities it surveyed also indicated that the numbers of international students lacking enough funds is growing, he added.

They also reported that some money international students earned during their part-time work was being sent back to their home countries, rather than being spent on living costs in the UK, he said.

Pointing to the examples of universities using OfS funding to support international students, he said, “There needs to be enough money available for universities to have hardship funds that are available for international students.”

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18 Responses to UK: int’l students facing financial hardship ‘rising’

  1. So the students lied, don’t actually have enough funds to support themselves when they’re required to prove their finances. The financial requirements to study here should be increased.
    Students are sending money to their home countries rather than funding their studies, raising questions on their actual intentions here. Taking advantage of the scheme dishonestly to make profit.
    And the conclusion is that British taxpayers should be paying for funding for international students to study here? What a joke! Send them home. Stop helping the dishonest to take advantage of the UK.

    • As the cost of living is on the rise in UK, the minimum working hour per week for international students should be increase to 30hrs thereby enabling them fund their studies and not relying on British tax payers or universities for financial support.

  2. Funds required by international students are basically for upkeep, rent and others. The scheme has good intentions and fees paid by the students are regarded as revenue to the authority. They should increase the 20 hours in-term working hours to enable students meet financial obligations in UK.

  3. Many Universities knows this their student under financed. Most of the recruiting agencies tell theses student (in Asian countries) you can just go there are lots of jobs lots of money. In reality here is no money. These certificates especially given by study shop gets them no job at all in India. These MBA programnes many MNC throw away in waste basket.

  4. I think John who made the highlighted comment is ignorant of the fact that the universities charged hugege sums for the fees and it is out of that same fund that the universities are providing support for their distressed students. This is not from UK tax payers it is from international students generated income. They should be able to benefit from their own contributions. Even the working UK citizens are complaining about the cost of living why should international students not be given support?

  5. Let there be a platform where a student can access loan to clear his school fees,
    Employee should consider students who are seeking to be employed to enable them pay their bills.i don’t believe in schooling on credit let their be available jobs I am confident students will not complain of tuition fees again.

  6. I read a comment saying international students sending money at home and the financial crisis should not be addressed as international students are lying and taking advantage of the Uk. To this ideology I would like to say that if this is what white people or UK citizens think, then they should not appreciate the crowd coming from the international countries. Even the UK government cannot deny the profit coming from fees paid by mass of international students.

  7. @John, all you can suggest is to send them home. How do you back up claim that they lied? The international students contribute a large quota to the UK economy which people like you enjoy. The facts and statistics are there. There’s no big deal if there’s some kinda relief fund from the UK government. The cost of living is on the rise in the UK and these international students have no access to public funds just like you, Mr John who enjoys free benefits.

  8. It is outrageous these uk school want international students to brake the bank to enable them study compared with tuition free in Europe. I will advise international students to focus studying in Europe or Canada instead of UK as its not the only available option

  9. Mister John, example British people pay 2000 as fee for smae cource International students has to pay 10000, above on that IHS fee is 1000 per year. Witout International students Your universities will go bankrupts NHS can’t be operated, overall The British economy will collapse, without hard working temporary or permanent Immigrants.

  10. It’s always sad to see some ignorant people join in into some conversations, international students pay over £2500 for each person to access the NHS for your study duration, then pay thousands for visa fee and some universities charge about £10000 to £16000 per year for tuition. So if the universities want to help their student who are struggling I don’t see it as a taboo.

  11. Most of the students from South Asia don’t have the funds and means to study here in the UK. The students fake their funds by getting a letter from the bank manager by bribing them. Secondly when they come here they immediately start to work part time as official work and rest of the hours is cash in hand. Does the UK need these type of students and on top of that they need funding? So in essense they bring some money and earn most of their expense money in the Uk.

  12. @John is at best insensitive to the plight of International students, because either he works full time or dependent on government benefit, I am sure the economic crisis is hitting him.very hard how much more compared to the International student.

  13. International students pay double the amount of the university tuition fee compared to a British student, they pay additionala 2500 NHS fee and visa fees per year, the cost of which Rishi Sunak promised to increase, landlords and letting agencies started to ask to pay 12 months upfront, and reluctant to return the deposit money for various excuses. After getting diploma with graduate visa, most probably one will be employed for a lower rate of salary than a British citizen or straight into a sponsorship visa slavery scheme. Universities increasingly cutting corners and quality of teaching is decreasing. I wont be surprised if prospective students will opt for the US or Canada.

  14. Most of the commenters in this section fail to understand that there is no entitlement for international students to be in the UK as far as the law is concerned. The policy makers specifically designed the rules so as to avoid scenarios being described above, namely international students relying on hardship funds.

    The presentation of a picture by applicant student that neglects to disclose the circumstance that some of or all of the funds being advanced in support of the application are loan funds could amount to a material misrepresentation to the entry clearance officer when obtaining a student visa.

    The Student Visa Category is not designed to be a vehicle for international students to engage in de facto primary employment – any part-time employment that is permitted by the student Visa category is required to be ancillary.

    As to the question of tuition fees being charged by universities with respect to international students, it is a free market economy – for a variety of reasons, the counterpart universities on the European continent struggle to compete in the same weight category, some of the more prestigious universities in the UK.

  15. I think some comments are biased, how many of the British citizens can even afford a postgraduate studies without funding ? The money realised from these international students through NHS and Visa is what keeps the UK government running, so what are we saying, why must student work hours be restricted. How many average UK citizens can boast of the financial capability of the international students. Let’s be fair in judgment.

  16. The true fact remains that the cost of living crisis has impacted greatly on international students as they struggle to meet their financial responsibilities while studying at the university. It is an overstatement not to recognise the current situation these students are facing, they have committed so much to their academic pursuits in the UK and as such need to be supported more importantly in managing their financial pressure in tuition fee payments and maintenance costs for transportation, accommodation and entire wellbeing matters.

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