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Stranded Indian students from London offered admission

September 02, 2012 21:04 IST
Over 350 Indian students are among nearly 2,600 non-European Union students being offered places at various universities after the London Metropolitan University was stripped of its licence to admit and teach international students last week.

A taskforce constituted to support current students at various stages of their courses is coordinating offers of places from universities in London and other places.

Some universities have offered to charge the same fees as LMU even though their fees are higher than LMU's. LMU lost its licence last week after the United Kingdom Border Agency 'systemic and serious errors' in the university's recruitment of international students, including from India.

The action sparked concerns about the impact it would have on the UK's standing in the international student recruitment market.

Indian students who had acquired student visas and were in the process of travelling to London to start their courses this month have been told to cancel their plans after the revocation.

The University of East London has set up a hotline for LMU students, while others Middlesex University, University of Bedfordshire and De Montfort University have also expressed interest in accepting LMU students affected by the licence revocation.

LMU has closed its offices in New Delhi and Chennai, while the university has informed some of the affected new students that they could have fees refunded.

Leicester-based Dominic Shellard, vice-chancellor of De Montfort University, said he was happy to see if London Met students could be accommodated at his institution. Shellard told the media, "Our offer to help is not about financial gain. That is why a consortium approach through the taskforce is important. It would scotch the notion that some universities are trying to cream off students."

Shellard said the swift reallocation of students would ultimately benefit universities by limiting negative publicity across the world: "I could see from the TV this has caused huge anxiety to bona-fide, legitimate students left totally bereft... I think the biggest challenge is how to limit the damage caused to the reputation of the sector overseas".

Catherine Downes, director of corporate marketing at UEL, said, "We had over 100 calls from both international and home students... We have now set up a dedicated hotline with specialist advisers able to help students. We are quite convenient (for London Met students) in terms of our location and there is also a good match portfolio-wise."

Amit Kapadia, the executive director of the campaign group HSMP Forum said, "Such measures (licence revocation) only show that the basic British values of fair play and justice are being threatened by mindless actions of the government and the sparkling reputation earned at the recent Olympics and the ongoing Paralympics is now being smeared by the unfair and the horrible injustice suffered by these students."

The LMU is likely to legally challenge the decision to revoke its licence.

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