University of Bristol Required to Offer More Financial Support to International Students

United Kingdom Europe International Studies by Erudera News Apr 16, 2021

university of bristol

Bristol People and Planet Society have been asking the University of Bristol to offer more financial support to international students.

In an open letter directed to the University Vice-Chancellor Hugh Brady, among five other demands, the Society appeals for the university to revoke its plans to increase fees by up to £2,000 for the next academic year.

The letter notes that tuition fees for international students have already increased by £1,000 last year, Erudera.com reports.

The President of Bristol People and Planet Society, Domi Rybova, said that the university has claimed to acknowledge the financial challenges international students are going through, yet they continue increasing tuition fees.

The Society also demands a “tuition fee amnesty” for those students who couldn’t afford to pay their tuition fees because of the COVID-19 pandemic. This demand is supported by many other students in the UK, as a letter signed by 530 people was sent to the Minister of State for Universities, Michelle Donelan.

Another demand of the Society is for the university to provide a fund for difficult times accessible to all students, similar to the one the university has set up for Hardships and COVID-19 Impact Fund, for students who require extra financial support.

However, according to a Bristol People and Planet Society survey, international students were “discouraged” from applying for this fund due to concerns they would face bigger financial difficulties in the future.

This letter follows a fundraising effort by People & Planet members to raise money for their local food banks after many international students were reported to rely on these food banks during the COVID-19 crisis.

The letter further notes that students living outside the campus haven’t been provided with the same food package aids and well-being services as the ones living on the campus.

Four Bristol Student Unions Officers have backed the open letter, including the Undergraduate Education Officer, David Ion, the Student Living Officer, Ruth Day, Sport & Student Development Officer, and International Students’ Officer, Roy Kiruri.

In a previous statement commenting on the experience of students this year, Professor Sarah Purdy, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Student Experience, said that the university had been dedicated to offering a high-quality teaching experience adaptable for the online platforms.

She also encourages students to report their difficulties with learning, caring responsibilities, or lack of access to IT to the university.

“For all these reasons, we do not plan to offer blanket tuition fee refunds. However, in line with the guidance given to students by the Office for Students, we will continue to consider students’ concerns on a case-by-case basis through our established procedures,” Vice-Chancellor Purdy said.

About 70 percent of students in the UK have claimed they struggled to pay their rent in the last four months, a study conducted by the National Union of Students has revealed.

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