Written by Simeon.
All views are Simeon’s.
Exciting news – tuition fees for International students on a full-year placement or a study abroad will now be reduced by more than half.
During the last Senate meeting on the 9 October 2019, I queried why international students on placement for a full academic year were paying more than 50% of their tuition fees (with typical undergraduate fees around £14,500). Although the issue was discussed at the Senate meeting, no changes were made.
As the President on Education, I represent students on the Fees and Scholarships Group (FSG) which, as the name implies, looks at all things regarding tuition fees paid by students as well as scholarships criteria and eligibility. Since the last Senate meeting, I have relentlessly raised the issue time and time again, lobbying the University to reduce the tuition fees for international students on placement for a full academic year. One of my arguments was that International students on placement for a full academic year are essentially the same as Distance Learners (online students), without access to the physical elements of the University and only interacting virtually. Yet, Distance Learners pay way less than international students for basically a similar experience, which seemed unfair.
On the 18 February 2020, the FSG decided that a lower fee should be approved (15% rather than 50% of the full-year fee) for students starting in 20/21. This means where students were paying over £7,000 for a full year on placement, they will now pay just a little over £2,000. This is a reduction of more than 50% of the current fees. The final phase of this would be to get approval at the University Leadership Team (ULT). Huge thanks to the members of staff and the chair of the Group, the Pro-Vice-Chancellor of Education, Becky Huxley-Binns, who had the patience to endure my haggling and see this through.
This is a big win for international students and would go a long way in relieving the financial burden of the students who already spend so much in order to study at University. It has also removed a huge barrier to international students considering going to study abroad. One of my objectives in this role is to look at the issue of money for students and seek ways to reduce costs and/or get value for money. I will keep exploring ways to do this going forward.
Although this has been agreed in the FSG – the final outcome is subject to the University Leadership Team.