Thousands of prospective international students have said they will defer their offers for study in the UK for a year if teaching and lectures move online without a reduction in fees.
University leaders have been discussing ways of teaching in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic and some like Cambridge have already said all of their lectures will be online for the 2020-21 academic year. The general consensus is that a hybrid approach consisting of a mix of online lectures and small face-to-face classes will be the best way forward.
The uncertainty around teaching practises is causing many international students to reconsider their plans and a QS report that surveyed 30,000 university applicants found that 53% of overseas students intend to defer their places for a year.
40% said they would be not at all interested travelling abroad to study if their degree moved online and 20% said they would only be slightly interested. Meanwhile, 77% of those surveyed said they would expect a reduction in fees as a result of their teaching being online.
The annual cost for international students to study undergraduate courses in the UK is between £10,000 and £26,000, rising to over £50,000 per year for medical students.
The British Council estimates that 14,000 fewer students from East Asia region countries such as China and Hong Kong could enrol at UK institutions compared to the 2018-2019 academic year.
As a result of the pandemic, universities in the UK could face a funding shortfall of over £450million which the government is trying to counter by providing a £2.6billion support package.
Despite this financial assistance, domestic students are still expected to pay their full fees even if they do not step foot onto campus or use any facilities.
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