International students are due to start university this autumn, but there has been no communication from the government regarding travel from red-list countries.
Potential costs for both parties
Under the current rules, students will have to quarantine for 10 days at a government-approved hotel, costing them £1,750 each.
If the government decides not to allow these students into the UK, however, there will be a significant dent to the UK economy. International students are extremely lucrative for the UK: In 2014-15, for example, on- and off-campus spending by international students and their visitors generated £25.8 billion in gross output for the UK economy.
There is, therefore, not only a significant incentive for the government to allow students in, but an incentive to actively encourage them to come in. This could include providing some sort of financial support to pay for the expensive 10-day quarantine hotel.
Many students have expressed their concerns about the financial cost of having to quarantine, with many claiming they may have to defer until at least January 2022 to avoid the high cost and uncertainty that may taint their learning experience from September 2021.
What are the potential solutions for this?
Some universities have said that students can use on-campus accommodation to quarantine, but the majority have not said anything. There are government plans to use hotels, but there are growing fears that capacity will be reached, meaning quarantine facilities at airports will need to be managed.
Regardless of what solution is reached, students are desperate to receive some form of guidance about what to do with their university places. So far, they have been left in the dark, with some forced to defer their places already.
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