After being trailed on breakfast TV, the new rules on students were eventually more formally announced last week. It seems the education sector is in for a double whammy. The Points Based System gets worse and worse and excludes more and more fee-paying international students while Mandelson is busy slashing core funding at the same time. Universities will be having to slash their budgets very seriously or go bust.
The new rules kick in from 3 March 2010 and include the following changes:
- PBS dependants get new rules to enable them to switch into the PBS themselves if they otherwise qualify…
- …but are no longer allowed to work unless they can so qualify
- Those studying below degree level (including Foundation degree study) can only work 10 hours per week during term time rather than the 20 hours permitted for time immemorial
- Students on courses of less than 6 months can no longer bring dependants with them
It was also announced that the policy guidance would be changed on 3 March 2010 to require English language students to already have attained roughly GCSE level (B2 on the Common European Framework of Reference) in order to come and study, although overseas Government sponsored students and ‘crammer course’ students studying English before commencing degree level study are exempted from this.
All other international students will have a CEFR B1 equivalent English language requirement imposed on them from summer 2010, which will be a major change.
There is then some gumph in the ministerial statement about ‘highly trusted sponsors’ being created, aimed primarily at publicly funded universities. Little is said about this other than that work placements will only be available in future to students at a highly trusted sponsor institution. The more prestigious-sounding title may just be a sop to hopping mad vice chancellors or there may be some other unannounced substance to it.
See here for the Statement of Changes, here for the press release and here for the ministerial statement. Home Secretary Alan Johnson made the announcement rather than still Immigration Minister Phil Woolas. Were they worried he’d put his foot in it yet again?