There are over 650 course options to choose from. As of this morning, the clearing house helpdesk had received over 1,000 calls, and over 300 students had selected the courses and institutions that they wish to be considered for, making, on average, three choices. These institutions are now reviewing the expressions of interest they have received, and will contact students directly, and as soon as possible, if they decide to offer them a place.
To encourage participation in the clearing house, London Metropolitan University and the National Union of Students are re-contacting the significant numbers of students who have not yet responded.
Students for whom there is no easy match through the clearing house are being assisted on a case-by-case basis by London Metropolitan University faculty staff to apply for places at other institutions.
The task force is considering how best to support a further group of students who are within six months of completing their courses. London Metropolitan University will provide the UK Border Agency with details of these students and their circumstances by the end of this week, following which the UK Border Agency will provide advice on their immigration requirements. In taking this approach, our aim is to ensure the best possible outcome for these students.
As previously reported, the UK Border Agency has agreed that around 400 postgraduate students who have submitted or are about to submit their dissertations can be assessed by London Metropolitan University, and will therefore not need to transfer.
A number of London Metropolitan University students affected by the revocation decision are making their own arrangements to transfer to another higher education institution (see note 8). The UK Border Agency has set out the next steps for these students and students going through the clearing house who are accepted by an institution (note 9).
The UK Border Agency has confirmed that it is for receiving institutions to satisfy themselves that students meet the English Language requirements. In the case of private institutions this would be through the provision of secure English language tests (SELTs), or in the case of other higher education institutions, for those at degree level and above only, through their own method of assessment to satisfy themselves that they meet the current requirements. The Border Agency has agreed to give further advice on the precise interpretation of these requirements.
Students and institutions have many detailed questions for the UK Border Agency. These are being processed as quickly as possible and the Border Agency’s list of frequently asked questions and answers is constantly being refined and updated (see note 9). The UK Border Agency is also clarifying the position of students who have graduated and who are now applying for Tier 2 visas.
The University has initiated legal action to challenge the revocation of their Tier 4 licence, and a hearing is scheduled for tomorrow (Friday 21 September). As soon as the outcome is known, the task force will provide further information on the implications for existing overseas students. Notwithstanding the outcome of the hearing, the clearing house will continue to operate with the aim of ensuring the best possible choice for students.
The £2 million fund announced last week by the Universities Minister will be overseen by the task force, working in collaboration with London Metropolitan University. It will allow students to access support in a simple and speedy way, recognising that some will require immediate assistance. No student will be out of pocket on basic visa reapplication fees. To minimise the financial and administrative burden on students, the UK Border Agency and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills are working to put in place a central process so that students would not face upfront costs. The fund office will be based at the University, and will begin helping students from next week.