Indian student applications for UK on rise despite pandemic constraints
New data released on Thursday (8) from the UK’s centralised higher education application system shows a 30 per cent increase in the number of undergraduate applications from Indian students to study at British universities, despite the ongoing pandemic related travel constraints.
The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) analysis for the period up to the June 30 deadline for applications for the new academic year found that 9,930 applications were made by Indian students, up from last year’s 7,640 applications.
“The whole university community has shown incredible resilience this year. It is really encouraging to see Indian students continue to make plans to study in the UK and we look forward to welcoming students safely,” said Vivienne Stern, director of Universities UK International (UUKi), which represents over 140 UK universities.
“Thanks to UK government policy and the support structures that UK universities have put in place, we can prepare for the start of term with the flexibility students will welcome,” she said.
India remains on the UK’s red list for international travel, which requires any students with a valid visa to quarantine at a government-approved hotel for 10 days on arrival in the country. But all international students who arrive in the UK will be able to receive their COVID-19 vaccination from the National Health Service (NHS), free of charge.
UCAS is predicting that increases in applications will see a record number of students starting university in the UK later this year as it logged overall growth of 14 per cent in undergraduate UK university applications from students globally.
“Today’s numbers show the clear demand for undergraduate study and apprenticeships is growing, rising significantly during the pandemic,” said UCAS chief executive Clare Marchant.
“Universities are ready to welcome more students onto courses this autumn and have worked hard to be flexible, enabling students to progress to their next level of study. Though not every student will find themselves in the position they had initially hoped for, they still have a wide range of options, including undergraduate courses and apprenticeships,” she said.
The increase may be attributed to students looking to make the most of the UK’s new Graduate route, which opened for applications last week. It will allow Indian and other overseas students to stay to work in the UK after their degree for two or three years, depending on the nature of their course.
The UK Home Office has also extended the deadline for students to be physically present in the country to be eligible for the new post-study work visa, to September this year for the 2020-21 cohort. Students beginning their course later this year or early next year will need to be in the UK by April 6 next year.
UUKi advised students holding an offer for a UK university this year to contact their chosen university to find out more about arrivals and plans for September.
The UK has recently also announced that students will have more flexibility in the way they begin their studies, including the option to start online and travel later if necessary, or arriving for the start of term and being supported through any necessary quarantine period.