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Universities for Expats in the United Kingdom

Submitted: July 2013

Firstly, the title of this section is somewhat of a misnomer as there are not any specific universities in the UK specially set up for expats. UK universities are highly meritocratic and have long prided themselves on a tradition of academic excellence as well as promoting forward-thinking graduates. They are renowned for their excellence and figure prominently in international league tables. Known for the variety of students they attract, British universities offer your child the opportunity to foster a truly global outlook.

Although government subsidised, UK universities are fee-paying. UK students (“home students”) and EU students pay a lower fee (“home fees”) whereas students from outside of the EU will pay the significantly higher international student fees. Annual tuition fees range vastly from approximately £3,000 to up to £30,000 depending on the course of study, level of studies being pursued (undergraduate or postgraduate) and the residency status of the student. As a rule of thumb, medical-related subjects and sciences are more expensive. Recent changes in the legislation have meant that, in most cases, the maximum sum a university can charge as home fees is £9,000. UK universities offer a number of scholarships and bursaries to both EU and international students. More information can be found on the website of the UK Council of International Student Affairs - http://www.ukcisa.org.uk/student/source_funding.php

Additionally, EU students (and UK students) are able to apply for student loans in certain cases.

UK universities recognise a number of secondary school-leaving qualifications and by no means is your child disadvantaged by not having completed the British school leaving exams (GCE A levels). Admission to undergraduate courses in UK universities is facilitated via University and Colleges Admissions Services (UCAS). The application is electronic and is relatively simple to complete. The personal statement is the key item to distinguish your child from other applicants. Of course, completion of the application must be done on time for consideration. Please note the following strict deadlines:

15th October – deadline for applications to Oxford or Cambridge or professional courses (medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine) at all universities.

15th January – deadline for applications for other courses at all universities.

The university term begin in late September for most courses. Therefore, for entry into an undergraduate course commencing in September 2014, one must apply by either 15 October 2013 or 15 January 2014. You should note that one is not allowed to both the University of Cambridge and the University of Oxford in any given application round. Some universities will require students to undertake a separate exam for some course, for example the law exam LNAT must be taken for admission to some universities.

The admission procedure for postgraduate studies is not as uniform. You should visit the website of each university in order to determine whether the desired course is offered, its costs, funding opportunities and application information.

Additionally, most universities will require that students display a certain level of proficiency in English as evidenced through successful completion of ESOL courses, namely IELTS. This requirement does not apply to students whose first language is English. University courses are overwhelmingly taught in English.

In determining which university would best suit your child, you may want to consult the university guides. These provide an in-depth analysis of various criteria such as student satisfaction, tutor-to-student ratio, investment on facilities, ease in finding employment opportunities upon graduation and graduate pay. Some established university reviews include:

Times Good University Guide - http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/public/gug/

Top Universities - http://www.topuniversities.com/university-rankings

The Guardian University League Table - http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/table/2013/jun/03/university-league-table-2014

For more general information on the practicalities of studying in the UK, you should also contact the British Council site, Education UK- http://www.educationuk.org/

 

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