Top U.K. universities are chartering flights to bring Chinese students into the country next month in an effort to overcome travel restrictions. Britain’s 220,000 Chinese students account for nearly a fifth of all tuition fee income and universities are terrified of losing it. MailOnline has more.
More than 50 universities, including Imperial College London, Bristol and Exeter, have already chartered four flights, bringing in some 1,200 Chinese students, the Times reported.
Mainland China has scrapped all direct commercial flights to the U.K. but students can travel to London via Hong Kong, which is on the U.K.’s green list for travel.
More flights are now being arranged in order to meet demand, the paper reported, citing Into HE, an international education organisation assisting in hiring the flights.
Preparations include airport transfers between Heathrow and the university campuses, along with accommodation and food for the students, who currently have to isolate for 10 days upon arrival in the U.K.
The charter flights come amid fears that income from overseas students – worth more than £1billion to U.K. universities – could dip amid ongoing coronavirus travel restrictions.
There are some 220,000 Chinese students studying in the U.K., the Times reported, with students from China providing nearly a fifth of all tuition fee income. Across the prestigious Russell Group, one in every 10 students is Chinese. After China, India is the country from which most overseas students at U.K. universities hail.
The availability of flights to the U.K. has been impacted by coronavirus, particularly over concerns about the Delta variant, prompting some universities to extend online learning and introduce multiple start dates in a bid to accommodate international students struggling to get to the U.K. in time for the beginning of term.
Experts have also warned that the focus on catering to international students risks overlooking the needs of British students, who pay nearly four times less in fees than international students.
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