By Saurabh Arora, Founder and CEO, University Living
It’s that time of the year when last minute packing and sudden bursts of anxiety, excitement and happiness are all that seem to be happening! Yes, it’s the onset of the new academic year in the UK and students from all over the globe are set to fly off to begin their new adventure. But is the 2021 academic year falling into place as expected or are there some pandemic blues that’s disrupting it? The word on the street is that the September 2021 intake is pretty poor, with loads of students having delayed or cancelled their higher education plans. However, our numbers speak otherwise.
It’s true that the 2020 academic year went downhill for reasons known by the entire world. Students got used to online classes and by the end of the year slowly transitioned into a hybrid model. However, students and parents were in two minds whether or not to pursue higher studies abroad in 2021. But over the past two quarters, University Living has seen a 3x growth in bookings – so we can say with conviction that the 2021 academic year in the UK is going to be a success.
Surveys and studies conducted by companies in the higher education ecosystem have shown that students were eager to get back to the classroom. In this light, the UK Government along with UK universities drafted some exceptional proposals, and set guidelines that have made it safe for students to get back to university. Financial aid, scholarships, post-study work visas, reduction in rents, easy tuition payment plans, and proactive and swift vaccination drives across the country are few of the many points that have boosted confidence in parents and students to go ahead with higher education plans in the UK. There’s free vaccinations for international students regardless of their nationality or immigration status.
With Indians being the third largest student population in the UK, the Indo-UK ties are extremely essential to the higher education sector and the economy in the UK. The UK welcomes around 450,000 international students every year – out of which 50,000 are Indian students. This number went down by 1.6% during the pandemic but thanks to the robust steps taken by the UK to get back on its feet, the number of student visas approved for the 2021-22 academic year have scaled up again. The temporary financial struggle and India being on the red list definitely had something to do with the negative news of the September intake, but things were looking up when India was moved to the amber list.
University representatives that are closely associated with us have shunned the rumour of the new academic year being dull. Our team at University Living has been instrumental in assuring parents that they have nothing to worry about, by making them aware of the safety guidelines that have been put in place by all our accommodation partners and the UK Government. The amount of hard work and dedication showcased by the team and the cooperation provided by all our stakeholders have proven that we can rise above the ashes with the right amount of luck and support.