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Overseas Students: Fees and Charges

Question for Department for Education

UIN 24567, tabled on 24 June 2022

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent estimate he has made of the number of overseas university students resident in the UK who have not paid full fees in each of the last three years; what recent assessment he has made of the impact of non-payment of full fees due to the effects of the covid-19 pandemic on (a) university finances, (b) overseas students being unable to complete their courses and (c) overseas students losing their migration status; and what recent steps he has taken to support overseas university students whose difficulty paying fees is related to the covid-19 pandemic.

Answered on

4 July 2022

The setting and payment of fees is a matter for universities as autonomous institutions and therefore, the department does not hold data on the exact number of international students in the UK who have not paid full fees in each of the last three years.

The Office for Students (OfS) collects and analyses financial data from higher education (HE) providers in England to ensure they have an up to date understanding of the sustainability of the sector. We work closely with the OfS and recognise that although there is variation in the performance and strengths of individual institutions the overall financial position of the HE sector remains sound.

Where the OfS identifies concerns about the financial viability of an HE provider, they will implement enhanced monitoring of that provider.

Payment of tuition fees and course progression is a matter between a student and their sponsor (HE institution). If a sponsor decides to withdraw a student from a course for non-payment of fees, they are required to notify the UK Visas and Immigration which may subsequently result in the student’s visa being cancelled

During the COVID-19 pandemic the department, alongside the government, worked hard to ensure that international students were supported throughout this difficult time, including visa concessions so that students who could not travel to the UK during the pandemic were not adversely impacted.

In addition, the department provided grant funding to the OfS for the 2021/22 financial year included an allocation of £5 million to HE providers in England in order to provide additional support for student hardship. This hardship funding could be accessed by international students and would be allocated by providers to where the need was greatest.