It is accepted that people will have to live with Covid 19 virus being around for a while–at least for a year by which time we hope that a vaccine may be in place, on that has got to go through several rounds of clinical trials. Students who are planning to study abroad are anxious to know whether they still will be able to.
In this update, we are covering what we believe the UK Universities will do, based on our reaching out to and updates received from over 70 British Universities.
UK September Intake During Covid 19
Some quick important updates (based on our constant touch with or updates received from various stakeholders including 70+ UK Universities, UK VFS, UK High Commission):
- UK Visa Facilitation Centres (VFS) are starting operations on 6th July 2020. This is welcome news, offering a clear thought that things are improving. Read about re-opening of selected UK Visa Application Centres in India
- Many UK Universities have pushed their September start date by about a month. Courses that were due to begin in Sep 2020 may start in Oct 2020. This may allow students more time for their Tier 4 visa procedure, plan the travel especially given that no airlines have begun operations, depending on both, Indian and British Government directives
- Most UK Universities will allow you to join late even if that means that you start your course while you are in India
Will UK Universities be running the September 2020 intake for international students?
Yes. We strongly believe they will. Many UK Universities have pushed their intake by a month ie. they may start in Oct. instead of Sep. to allow enough time for visa and other preparations.
The virus curve in the UK is on a decline. Here is a nice article by BBC: Coronavirus UK Map: How many confirmed cases are there in your area?
Universities have confirmed that utmost care with regard to health safety and precaution is going to be taken including social distancing measures, maintenance of facilities and more. We have infact been in touch with some UK Universities even in the affected area and they are doing very well in terms of their planning to ensure international students will be safe.
You can also read this letter from UK Minister of State for Universities, Michelle Donelan.
How will the September 2020 intake run in the UK?
Each UK University has been planning in a different way with the focal point being to ensure safety and well-being of students as well as the University staff, and also provide the best student experience.
Having connected with a large number of Universities, we surmise these to be the study models:
- Blended Learning: Semester 1 (Sep/Oct to Jan/Feb) will have a combination of on-line and face-to-face teaching with larger classes being taught remotely and for smaller lectures and tutorials, it will be face-to-face teaching. Face-to-face teaching and learning will be provided but this is dependent on what social distancing and public health guidelines are in place in September.
Each study department works on detailed teaching plans for their programmes and will provide specific programme information to the students
- Study the first semester in India: Many UK Universities are offering the opportunity to undertake your first semester in India. Thereafter, once things ease out ie. regular flights begin between India and the UK or the worries of your parents subside, you can join the University in Jan/Feb. This means you would not lose time and can plan your career as you had earlier envisaged. Interestingly, the UK High Commission has also confirmed that this will not affect your application to remain in the UK after your course through the Graduate Route, that allows you to work in the UK for upto 2 years
Will I have to apply for a UK Tier 4 Student Visa before I do online classes in India?
No. This is not necessary. However, UK VFS begins operation on 6th July 2020. Thus, the visa application will begin and if you have financials and documents in place, you can always apply for a visa. Do note though that a valid UK Tier 4 visa is necessary before you fly to the UK to join the University and decision on your application is at the discretion of the Entry Clearance Officer (UK embassy). We suggest you start early and if you are sure to begin your studies whenever things open up, its best to apply for your UK student visa. Thereafter, decide when you are comfortable to go to the UK to continue your studies at the campus
Refund Policy of UK University
Most UK Universities have updated us that they will be refunding the fee to the students should the situation change and you for some reason are not willing to join the University because of Covid 19 related reasons. Each University will have a have Covid related FAQ page on their website. Go through that once. For eg. check out the University of Sheffield Coronavirus Covid-19: latest information FAQ page. They have written the information so crisply!
In case you still do not find that information, feel free to contact us and we can check it with the University.
Will my course be available in January 2021 at a UK University?
Most UK Universities are going to run the January 2021 intake with specific courses. This information will be updated at regular intervals by the University. Generally undergraduate courses are not available in January. If your course is not available, then it is best to begin your studies instead of changing your plan.
Just for a quick reference, check out the list of courses available in January in the UK. These were available in January 2020. Thus, most of these will be available in January 2021. Our discussion with multiple UK Universities lead us to believe that they will increase the number of courses available in January. Again, if you are unsure, we are always around to find it out for you. Contact Us.
Unless things get worse in either of the countries, we believe there is no reason to delay your studies. This is especially true for undergraduate students. With regard to postgraduate students, if your course at your selected University is available in January, then it may make sense that you stay back ie. if you are feel uncomfortable travelling. However, in this case too ensure that you have paid your deposit and reserved your place as we believe the rush to join UK Universities once things ease out would be immense in January 2021 or the forthcoming intakes.
All in all – stay safe! Be industry ready when the market opens. Education is the way forward!