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Petition calling for international students to be financially compensated passes 15,000 signatures

The petition stresses that it is ‘vital for the UK Government to provide at least partial compensation.’

By Filiz Emily Gurer, News Editor

The petition stresses that it is ‘vital for the UK Government to provide at least partial compensation.’

Initiated jointly by International Students’ Officers from Russell Group universities, the petition is calling on the Government to compensate international students studying in the UK.

After receiving approval from the Petitions Committee, the petition went live on 2 March and within two days had received the support of over 10,000 signatories.

Calling on the Government to issue refunds of academic fees, the petition cites that international students' contribution to the UK economy is over £20billion every year.

The petition notes that ‘lockdowns have had a massive impact on the quality of teaching and student experience of International students.’

It states that, ‘due to abrupt changing UK Government guidelines’, which have meant that ‘international students could not return/arrive to campus’, the university experience of international students has been ‘severely impacted.’

Having passed the 10,000 signatures mark, the petition is, in line with petition standards, due to receive a response from the government.

Roy Kiruri, Bristol SU’s International Students’ Officer, was one of the 18 International Students' Officers from the Russell Group of universities, to have worked on the petition.

On the success of the petition reaching its first target mark by 4 March, Roy Kiruri told Epigram: ‘I’m really pleased that within two days we’ve managed to get the number of signatures needed for the government to give us a response. Now let’s see what they have to say!

‘Thank you to everyone who has signed and shared the petition so far. I would really encourage you to do so if you haven’t yet – the more signatures, the more momentum behind the campaign.’

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In February, Russell Group International Students' Officers sent an open letter to the Chair of the Russell Group and the Vice Chancellors of their respective universities, lobbying them for a 30 per cent reimbursement of international students’ tuition fees.

The letter highlighting the challenges faced by international students, outlined the additional costs international students incurred in ‘creat[ing] learning environments in their home countries’, as a result of their ‘lack of access to learning facilities.’

The open letter also stressed the challenges faced by international students reliant on part-time work in the UK, as well as the effects of the ‘pressures of undertaking international education’ remotely, on the ‘overall wellbeing’ of international students.

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