Briefing note published on supporting international students during pandemic

The latest briefing note focuses on how universities and colleges are supporting current and prospective international students during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Plane in the sky

The Office for Students (OfS) has today released a briefing note on the different ways in which universities and colleges are supporting international students, including those who have remained in the UK, those who have returned home and are studying remotely, and those who are intending to start a higher education course in the UK in autumn 2020.

International students comprise around 20 per cent of the student population in England. In 2017-18, approximately 378,000 international students started courses in England, of which around 101,000 were from China – more than the number of students from all EU countries put together.

As the briefing note shows, international students may be particularly vulnerable at this time, with remote working in different time zones presenting a unique set of challenges for teaching and assessment, and those still in the UK potentially being more likely to experience precarious living situations, isolation or financial hardship as a result of the pandemic.

The case studies featured in the briefing show how many universities and colleges have taken specific practical steps to support international students during the pandemic, including:

  • providing tailored information, advice and guidance
  • organising online events to maintain a sense of student community for international students
  • offering grants for laptops to ensure that international students are able to access online resources remotely
  • supporting students to report incidents of racial harassment or hate crime.

Today’s briefing note is the fourth in a series designed to share the approaches which universities and colleges have taken to support students during the pandemic. The series does not constitute regulatory advice but focuses on sharing ideas and responses to challenges faced by universities and colleges during the pandemic.

Read the briefing note
Published 21 May 2020

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