Weekly news roundup: US lift travel restrictions for int'l students, and UK vaccine success gives sector hope

Nicole Wootton-Cane
Nicole Wootton-Cane
Published on: 29 April 2021 • 3 min read

The big news in global higher education this week comes from the US, as the Biden administration announced their plans to remove travel restrictions from international students from several key countries for recruitment. 

And multiple surveys have found that countries that look likely to allow international students to travel next semester, such as the UK and Canada, are leading the recruitment race, with Australia and New Zealand lagging behind.

Here’s your weekly higher education news roundup. 

UK vaccine success good for student recruitment

The UK’s successful vaccine delivery programme is helping them attract international students, according to a new survey.

The QS’ International Student Survey found that 47% of students found the UK to be a more appealing study destination because of their high rate of vaccine delivery. 

It has previously been confirmed that international students studying in the UK will be eligible for the vaccine through the NHS. 

“The combination of a quick and effective rollout of the coronavirus vaccine, the extension of post-study work rights and geo-political tensions elsewhere have all made the UK seem an increasingly welcome and attractive destination for international students,” the report read.

It comes as Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced further orders of millions of vaccines for an autumn booster programme. 

The UK is set to start the next phase of its lockdown exit plan on 17 May, with indoor hospitality and cinemas opening. However, students are not expected to be allowed back on campus until a later date. 

US ease travel restrictions for international students

This week, the Biden administration has announced that they will be lifting all travel restrictions for students starting or resuming courses in the US from 1 August 2021. 

International students have been granted a National Interest Exemption (NIE), meaning that they will be allowed to enter the country in order to start their courses on campus next semester. 

The move signals the administration’s dedication to the higher education sector, and will be welcome news to thousands of students who have been anxiously waiting to see whether they will be able to study on campus next semester. 

And the administration has also set out its highly anticipated ‘free college’ plan - a major campaign promise. 

Detailing the plan, Biden has promised a boost in the Pell Grant for low-income students and a federal-state partnership to bolster two-year institutions.

The plan also includes another $100 million for institutions with large numbers of minority and low-income students. 

However, the bill has yet to pass through Congress, where the Democrats hold a slim majority in both houses. 

Canadian study abroad market benefitting from open border

A recent survey suggests that Canada’s study abroad market is benefitting from Australia and New Zealand’s closed borders. 

Canada, alongside the UK, are seeing a surge in applications as agents tell students they will not be able to enter Oceania next semester, according to the Navitas survey. 

Over 80% of agents indicated that Canada had seen increased interest as a study destination in the months leading up to March 2021.

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Nicole Wootton-Cane
Written By
Nicole Wootton-Cane

Nicole lives in Manchester and is a Content Writer and Editor at Edvoy and journalist.


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