UK: International Students in Wales Sleeping on Campuses to Save on Commuting

United Kingdom Europe International Studies by Erudera News May 13, 2024

student sleeping

International students in Wales are reportedly sleeping on campuses to cut commuting costs following difficulties in finding affordable accommodation near universities.

According to a report by the BBC, after lectures are finished, students have been staying on campus and sleeping in university buildings.

Nida Ambreen from Bangor University’s Students’ Union confirmed that some students spent the night in the university’s 24-hour study space to save on their daily travel to campus.

“Students are coming from Liverpool and Manchester and then taking their classes on, for example, Mondays and then staying overnight and then on Tuesday they are taking classes and then going back to their accommodation again,” Ambreen told BBC News.

She said the housing crisis has especially affected international students enrolled in postgraduate programs because the latter often brought their family members with them to the UK.

Since January of this year, international students in the United Kingdom have no longer been able to bring their dependents to the UK as part of the new student visa rules.

“From 1 January 2024, tough government action means most international students can now no longer bring family members to the UK,” the government said.

The reason behind this change is the increase in migration and abuse of the immigration system. According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), net migration reached 672,000 between June 2022 and June 2023.

The same data indicates that in the year ending September 2023, a total of 152,980 visas were issued to international students’ dependents. That was an over 930 percent increase compared to the year ending September 2019, when 14,839 visas were issued to dependents of students.

However, those traveling to the UK for PhD research programs are still permitted to bring dependents with them.

Data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) reveal that more than 20,900 international students from non-EU countries study in Wales. Higher institutions in the country have set a goal of attracting more international students as the latter pay four times more in fees than local students.

The latest National Student Accommodation Survey by Save the Student found that two in five students in the United Kingdom have considered dropping out due to high rental expenses. The same revealed that 3 percent of students participating in the study have already dropped out for this particular reason.

Another study by Savills Estate Agents using HESA’s data, found that UK cities need to build more student accommodation. Research revealed that the ratio of full-time students to beds is 2.7 across 20 of the largest student cities.

Cities like Glasgow, London, and Bristol have higher student to bed ratios, at 3.8, then 3.6 and 3.5, respectively, meaning there is a high demand for accommodation among students in these areas. On the other hand, Liverpool, Sheffield, and Oxford have student to bed ratios under 2.0.

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