Table of Contents
As a growing number of Indian scholars venture to the UK for their higher education ambitions, the escalating student housing dilemma emerges as a significant hurdle. Insights from both Indian students currently in the UK and experts shed light on this situation.
Recent years have witnessed a surge in Indian students heading to the UK. According to statistics from the Union government, 2022 saw 55,465 Indian scholars in the UK with student visas.
Moreover, in June 2023, the UK’s Home Office revealed that 1,42,848 student visas were accorded to Indians. Despite this influx, the nation struggles to offer economical lodging options for these international learners.
A call for proactiveness in housing search
The escalation in rental costs and limited availability have led numerous Indian students to reside in overcrowded quarters. Additionally, many have vocalized their challenges in securing their rental deposits.
This housing issue has also gained attention from HEPI, a leading UK educational think tank. Martin Blakey, the head of Unipol, wrote a blog for HEPI pointing out that in 2020, the UK saw 29,048 new student housing units. However, in the next year, this number dropped to 13,543.
Locals and students: The housing dynamics
Cities like Swansea and Lincoln, known for their substantial student demographics, have dedicated agencies assisting students in finding homes. Yet, international students report reservations from locals about leasing to the younger generation.
For instance, recent news from Edinburgh spotlighted Canonmills’ residents opposing a proposed student housing project. The opposition’s argument was twofold: the district already grappled with housing shortages, and the proposed student accommodations, with their elevated rental rates, wouldn’t alleviate the student housing predicament.
While these experiences resonate with numerous students, experts opine that such situations might tarnish the UK’s allure as an educational haven, a narrative often promoted by overseas education agents and social platforms.
The impact of the housing crunch on Indian student influx
Current Indian students in the UK have been candid about the challenges of finding reasonable accommodations. However, experts speculate that these warnings might not deter potential students. The consensus is that the decision to study in the UK often hinges on individual financial standings. Students with access to educational loans, family support, or university scholarships might still lean towards the UK, valuing the educational caliber it offers.
The Visa fee dimension
Recently, the UK augmented its visa charges, including the student visa, by around £127. This revision pegs the student visa application fee at Rs 51,787. Although this increase adds a financial weight, it’s not anticipated to diminish Indian students’ interest in UK institutions. Nonetheless, it could recalibrate an average student’s budgetary planning for overseas education.
Following the rise in visa fees, there has been speculation that the increase might be aimed at reducing the influx of international students. However, experts in the field have pointed out that the adjustment in visa fees and the challenges of student housing are distinct issues. They highlight that visa fee changes can be influenced by a range of factors including policy decisions, economic conditions, and might affect different groups of applicants, not just international students.