News Article

Guild Submitted NUS Motion for International Students

Guild Submitted NUS Motion for International Students

For NUS National Conference 2020, Exeter Students' Guild, alongside Nottingham Trent SU and Hertfordshire SU, co-wrote and submitted an international student focused policy proposal to be adopted by the NUS (National Union of Students). We were all incredibly excited to find out that it had passed, and it should now help focus the efforts of national Students' Unions when fighting for a better experience for their international members.

Below is the policy in detail:

NUS motion to champion & safeguard International Students

Authors: Exeter Guild; Nottingham Trent SU; Hertfordshire SU

Liberation, Equality, Diversity and Inclusivity for international students:

  1. There should be a set of policies that support, safeguard and inform international students who engage with their Union, whether as academic representatives, society members, full/part-time officers, or when meeting students in their independent Advice services;

  2. Host institutions should adopt effective, user-friendly and well-promoted reporting platforms for instances of racial harassment and discrimination, as a method of safeguarding international students;

  3. Additionally, institutions should have a more accessible and representative wellbeing service, which understands the complexities of international student experience;

  4. Finally, all Union and University staff, should undergo LEDI training focused on the international student experience.

Financial Support:

  1. The pervading stereotype is that international students are wealthy, but in reality many rely on scholarships and other funding sources to support their studies and living costs. The current lack of standardisation across the sector creates an inconsistent experience which can dramatically impact the study of international students. We propose that all Unions request their host institutions contribute 5% of their annual international student fee income to a hardship fund accessible only for international students;

  2. Alternatively, this fund could be funded proportionally in line with International student numbers at the institution;

  3. Finally, the institution should do better to advertise and highlight the scholarships and bursaries available for international students by creating an online directory, and signpost international students during the application phase.

Housing and Accommodation:

  1. Host institutions should offer and promote a housing guarantor support service in which the Universities can act as guarantors – what is widely used is a complex and costly online service;

  2. Institutions must also provide a housing support service in which they assist international students in finding accommodation in their new home country;

  3. We also propose that institutions present accommodation expectations upfront i.e. moving out into the city after first year; support engagement with local letting agents;

  4. There should be pre-arrival check-ins to ensure International Students have found adequate accommodation before arrival;

  5. finally, offer better information on the expectations of living in the UK, i.e. Council Tax exemption for all students.

Effective promotion of what the university expects from international students when studying:

  1. Universities must offer accessible, unintimidating and free visa support and information to international students before and during their studies;

  2. They must also provide a free, accessible and comprehensive induction that covers the educational expectations of the institution (i.e. referencing, essay writing, exam procedures, mitigation, re-sit policies, personal tutor engagement) to ensure international students study with the same opportunities and expectations as home students, and are not disproportionately implicated in instances of academic misconduct;

  3. There should also be a more substantive, but accessible, effort pre-arrival to inform international students about where they are about to study, and what the expectations are.

Employability:

  1. We propose that all institutions be obligated to host employability fairs where employers are prepared to hire international students. The employers must understand visa requirements and be willing to employ students and sponsor their necessary Tier 2 visa or visa alternative;

  2. Additionally, we propose there should be equitable access to out-of-term-time internships and work experience through better promotion;

  3. Furthermore, there should be tailored advice regarding the post study work visa & education centring on working expectations to prevent the exploitation of International students.

?International Student Fees:

  1. Whilst the annual fee cap for undergraduate home students is set at £9,250, international students pay a maximum of £26,000. This leaves many international students feeling like merely income generators for the institution, rather than valued members of an academic community. There should be a meaningful and significant reduction of international student fees.

 

 

Back


University of Exeter Students' Guild is a Charity and Company Limited by Guarantee. Registered Charity Number: 1136468 Company Number: 07217324; registered in England and Wales Registered office: Devonshire House, Stocker Road, Exeter, EX4 4PZ