UK university stakeholders are expressing cautious optimism for the semester ahead, with some universities reporting accommodation contracts are being signed and that “several hundred” students are already quarantining on campuses prior to the start of term. Nick Hillman, director of higher education think tank HEPI, told The PIE News that vice-chancellors are gaining confidence, and are not expecting a significant drop in numbers.
All the vice-chancellor’s I’ve talked to… they are all sounding quite optimistic about student numbers,” said Hillman. “They seem to think the students are likely to arrive, not in absolutely every single case, but they are definitely, with every passing week, more optimistic than they were. “I think that is most probably because, to a certain degree, real money is now changing hands. For example, with international students booking their accommodation.
“They’re expecting to be somewhere close to last year’s figures,” he added.
Some international students are already arriving at UK university campuses, although the numbers are difficult to quantify because students are being offered flexible start dates.