61% of UK universities provide English guidance to international students for free, a survey shows

More than half (61%) of British universities claimed to have provided international students with free English support throughout their studies, an official survey revealed.

On June 27, 2018, the UK Council for International Student Affairs has published an overview of their benchmarking survey, with responses collected up to this day. As their announcement states, 131 member universities have until now responded to this survey, representing this was 26% of the total membership.

The aim behind this survey as stated by the UKCISA is to reveal the support international students get in British universities. In some respect, the complete survey waiting to be published by the end of the year will be surrounded at similar conclusions.
The survey intended to evaluate the universities’ performance in these important issues

    • English language assessment and support
    • Orientation and welcome
    • Students’ union support for international students
    • Working
    • Fees
    • Housing
    • Transition
    • Immigration and compliance
    • Brexit

More than half (61%) of respondent universities in this survey said they offer English assistance to their international students for free. 95% of the participants said that they assess their international students’ English proficiency by an IELTS test and 41% of them said they have their own English assessment tests. This displays a higher level of awareness of the British higher education providers for the major role that the English level plays in the academic performance of an international scholar.

Universities show a higher commitment on accommodating the foreign students with their new life. According to the findings of this survey, 70% of universities help incoming international students engage with current students and alumni to help them adapt to the new environment and feel welcomed. At 61% of these universities, international students who arrive late will be supported through workshops or face to face meetings. Slightly more than half(53%) of universities have a particular section for guiding international students, while 47% have a joint orientation section.

To ease the financial burden the British higher education carries on, the international students most of the time seek a part-time job to cover tuition fees and other expenses. Being abroad, finding such job is not an easy mission. Luckily, as this survey shows, overseas students at around one-third of universities advise students on where to find a part-time job.
Since one of the greatest concerns of international students is renting a flat, most universities in the UK have built facilities to accommodate their international guests. 75% of respondents said they have university-run accommodation settings for international students and 55% offer accommodation in a private setting.

Returning back home after completing your degree in the UK is not that easy. You have to start a new chapter in your life. Unfortunately, the majority (70%) of British universities doesn’t provide any sort of aid for international students going back home.

Another important point to look at this survey was the universities’ plan for international students following the Brexit. Universities, as shown in this survey, will wait until the final deal is set on the table to create their internal plans about EU students. 62% of the respondents said they will create a specific plan when the status of European students will be clearer than it is now. Meanwhile, 24% of respondents said they will advise EU students over immigration issues.

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