A new campaign by the National Union of Students (NUS) calls on universities to fix their fees for international students.
NUS noted that each year up to 175,000 international students on campuses find that their fees increase often without notice, reason or support.
According to a research by NUS, at least 50 per cent of universities do not provide international students with any guarantee of what their fee will be each year of their degree. Many fees increase often by thousands of pounds each year, in the middle of their studies.
The unexpected increase in fee makes it impossible for many students to continue their studies.
Research from students’ unions across the UK found international students are forced to seek additional part-time employment, supplementary loans, or drastically reduce expenditure in order to foot the bill. Some international students are unable to travel home to see their families, or afford course resources, because their fees go up unexpectedly.
These increases make a huge difference to retention. NUS Pound in Your Pocket research shows that students who pay unexpected additional costs of £1000 or more are twice as likely to consider leaving their programme.
NUS is calling on vice chancellors and principals of UK institutions to agree to guarantee a fixed fee for international students, protecting them from unanticipated and unfair increases in their fees throughout their course.
Over 180 students’ union officers have signed an open letter calling for fees to be fixed.
Daniel Stevens, NUS international students’ officer, said: “Our fixed fees campaign has one simple goal: to abolish in-course fee increases. We want a fixed fee guarantee for all international students.
“The unpredictable increase in fees is totally unfair and exploits this group of students. Worse still, they put the academic success of many international students at risk each year because students may enter financial difficulty and drop out.”
Mr Stevens added: “International students already pay astronomical fees for the privilege of studying here without all these hidden costs. They are also an important part of the social, cultural and academic make-up of university life and should not be treated simply as cash cows."
The petition can be found here.