London Met Loses More than Half its International Students

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The true extent of the damage done to London Metropolitan University's international student community over the last few months has been revealed. After the students were told in August that they would not be allowed to study at the university, that decision was then overturned, though more than 55% of the international students have still ended up leaving London Met.

This is just the latest in a string of headlines about London Met's international students over the last few months. The problems started when the UK Border Agency revoked the university's visa licence, meaning that with just a matter of weeks before the start of a new academic year, thousands of non-EU students were left stranded. However, after winning the right to appeal the decision, the university was given a temporary reprieve and its students were given the option to study at the institution until the end the current academic year.

Despite this change of decision, of the 1,385 students who were given the option of staying at the university, only 620 chose to do so. The reasons for this low uptake are numerous.

Alternative Options

When it appeared that the London Met students needed to find new places of study, a taskforce was set up to find them alternatives. This was matched with aggressive marketing by rival London universities eager to entice more lucrative international students. Therefore, the students were suddenly presented with a number of alternative options.

Equally, with the status of London Metropolitan's non-EU students still very much up-in-the-air, a number of students will have seen more stable universities as a more appealing prospect.

London Met's vice-chancellor Malcolm Gillies revealed the extent of the damage done by UKBA's initial decision:

"Although the High Court concessions have eased some of the immediate pain, the revocation [of the license] caused considerable anxiety to many students and their families, and will have a significant effect on our financial position, which is being quantified."

If you are a student who has been affected financially by this whole affair, you can apply for financial support. A £2 million fund has been set up to help students who have had to deal with visa reapplication costs, extra tuition fees and additional expenses, and you can apply here until the end of October.

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