Even as the world inches closer to a breakthrough in COVID treatment, it wouldn’t be easy to resume things as usual, particularly when it comes to international education. Travel restrictions, accommodation issues, and financial setbacks are imminent concerns for students planning to pursue study abroad aspirations in the new normal. Thankfully, colleges and universities have been supporting them with academic continuity initiatives such as hybrid learning. Still, the road ahead appears long and treacherous, and HEIs need to go the extra mile with the support they offer to international students. Here are some ways they can do their bit today and beyond.

Financial assistance with fee waivers

The most obvious way for HEIs to extend support for study abroad aspirants is by offering free waivers, which can be a great help considering the global economic slowdown. Many international universities have taken a cue, and they are already offering fee waivers for students starting their courses online while ensuring that these programs have the same weightage as on-campus courses.

Offer flexibility with provisional admissions

Many UK universities have already taken a flexible approach during the pandemic, allowing relaxations like provisional admissions for students facing delays in the results of the previous courses. Further, universities can also provide free virtual counselling so that learners get ample information to take the course and admission related decisions confidently. Relaxations in deadlines related to the visa approvals and paperwork can also make things easier.

Stay in touch with check-in emails

With the continuous updates regarding upcoming vaccines and changes in international travel norms, stress levels are running high for students planning to go ahead. While they are inundating universities with query emails, the latter can make efforts to stay in touch with weekly emails. They can communicate key information through these emails and also make the recipients feel connected.

Understand their needs with surveys

As international students deal with countless questions and doubts, HEIs can double up their efforts to support them by conducting surveys to understand and address common concerns. The surveys should include crucial questions so that they yield vital data and insights that universities can use for formulating student-friendly policies for the coming sessions.

Move a step closer with virtual workshops

While emails and surveys initiate connections, institutions can move a step closer with virtual workshops where students across the globe can ask questions and seek clarifications through live interactions. These workshops foster stronger bonds, and students (and parents) end up being more confident about moving to another country, despite the financial and health-related risks.

With uncertainty still prevailing, students may consider postponing study abroad decisions for another academic session. But a supportive mindset and the right approach of international universities can make all the difference. The benefits extend beyond bringing back the students to campuses for the upcoming session, as these initiatives can also bring revenues on track for the HEIs and boost their reputation as well.

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