This is an HTML version of an attachment to the Freedom of Information request 'Tier 4 international students'.


 
 
 
16 September 2020 
RECORDS MANAGEMENT SECTION 
 
The University of Edinburgh 
File ref:  T3/43/34 
Old College 
 
South Bridge 
Mahlea Babjak 
Edinburgh EH8 9YL 
 
Direct Dial  0131 651 4099 
Sent by email: request-685874-
Switchboard  0131 650 1000 
xxxxxxxx@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx.xxx 
Email  xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx@xx.xx.xx 
Dear Mahlea Babjak 
Freedom of information request 
Thank you for your email of 19 August 2020 requesting information about Tier 4 students. 
The University of Edinburgh is a global university, rooted in Scotland.  We are global y 
recognised for our research, development and innovation and we have provided world-
class teaching to our students for more than 425 years.  We are the largest university in 
Scotland and in 2018/19 our annual revenue was £1.1 bil ion, of which £286 mil ion was 
research income.  We have over 43,000 students and almost 16,000 staff.  We are a 
founding member of the UK’s Russel  Group of leading research universities and a 
member of the League of European Research Universities. 
We operate on an international stage and this is reflected in al  areas of University life; 
from our students and staff, to our col aborations that tackle problems transcending 
national boundaries, and the important intel ectual and societal contributions we make.  
Our international applicants and students prize our international reputation, the 
programmes we offer, our expert lecturers and quality research.  When surveyed for the 
annual International Student Barometer, we had more international students satisfied 
with their university experience than any other Scottish university. 
The University of Edinburgh is a Highly Trusted sponsor for Visa Tiers 2, 4 and 5.  Most 
international students are required to apply for a Tier 4 student visa to enter the UK.  We 
are required to demonstrate that sponsored students are attending and engaging in their 
programme of study.  Our processes have been tested and our Highly Trusted status 
reconfirmed in 2017.  This recognises the rigour of our processes, our very low visa 
refusal rate and the high proportion of our international student achieving their academic 
goals.  
We provide guidance for Tier 4 students about their rights and responsibilities, and 
information about the University’s responsibilities, on our website.  The University’s Tier 4 
Student Attendance and Engagement Policy, introduced in August 2015, outlines the 
University’s processes.  The Policy also supports the improvement of the overall student 
experience by identifying where students may be experiencing dif iculties and ensuring 
timely intervention and appropriate support. 
UNIVERSITY SECRETARY  Ms Sarah Smith 
The University of Edinburgh is a charitable body, registered in Scotland, with registration number SC005336 
 

 
Tier 4 students 
You asked for the number of Tier 4 students enrol ed at the University in the 2019/20 
academic year.  A total of 9,186 Tier 4 students were enrol ed in 2019/20.  To be 
consistent with the Scottish Funding Council's approach, this figure includes all Tier 4 
matriculated students with the exception of those who within five weeks of Semester 1 
commencing either withdrew, interrupted or completed their studies. 
You asked for the number of Tier 4 students who have contacted student funding 
services to report difficulties with paying their tuition fees on time.  The University does 
not record these figures in a reportable form.  In order to provide the number of Tier 4 
students who have contacted student funding services, the University would have to 
review all emails to student funding services.  Since March this year, it has received 3-
5,000 helpdesk calls and emails each month.  Students do not self-identify as Tier 4 or 
international students in al  emails, so in these cases we would need to cross reference 
with the student record.  Doing this work would cost more than £600, the limit over which 
the University is not required to respond to freedom of information requests. 
You then requested information on the assistance that is in place for Tier 4 students who 
are unable to pay their tuition fees.  The University’s Finance Department can assist 
students in financial difficulty by working with them on an individual payment extension or 
payment plan.  More information is available on the University’s col ecting fees 
webpages. 
You also asked for the COVID-19 provisions in place for Tier 4 students regarding health 
and wellbeing, immigration advice and any other advice.  The University’s Student 
Immigration Service has provided guidance for those affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.  
This includes a link to guidance on academic matters and the support available for 
students currently studying at the University of Edinburgh.  For information on the wide 
range of personal and academic support available to students you can visit the 
University’s Accessing Support webpages. 
You asked whether the University is providing hardship funds for Tier 4 students.  The 
University has provided hardship funds as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, which all 
students were eligible to apply for.  During the academic year 2019/20, 2,402 Tier 4 
students applied for hardship funding.  1,865 Tier 4 students were granted funds with a 
value of £993,677.  Additional funds, both from the University and the Government, 
continue to be available for Tier 4 students.  The primary reasons why hardship fund 
applications from Tier 4 students have been rejected by the University are: a lack of 
information or supporting documentation to make a decision; and lack of hardship or 
access to a high volume of funds. 
As part of hardship fund assessments, the University requires to see students’ bank 
statements, which outline their access to funds.  The issuing of both government and 
University funds are subject to an audit to ensure they are issued appropriately.  The 
University’s priority is to support those in hardship where there is limited access to funds 
or additional support.  Al  students are assessed using the same framework regardless of 
their fee or visa status.  
You then asked whether any Tier 4 students have been reported to the Home Office 
during the COVID-19 lockdown.  The University has reported no Tier 4 student to the 
Home Office during the COVID-19 lockdown.   

 

 
Finally, you asked for the number of Tier 4 students who have contacted the University's 
immigration support office requiring advice and/or reporting immigration difficulties from 
March 2020 until August 2020.  In order to provide the number of Tier 4 students who 
have contacted the Student Immigration Service, the University would have to review 
around 15,000 emails, checking each one individual y as email subject lines rarely reflect 
the nature of the email enquiry.  Doing so would cost more than £600, the limit over 
which the University is not required to respond to freedom of information requests. 
Technical exemption 
Please note that as some of the information requested is available to you through the 
University website, it is technical y exempt from the University’s obligation to answer 
requests for information under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002. The 
information is exempt under section 25 of this Act, because it is available to you by 
another route. This exemption is a technical matter only and does not affect your ability to 
obtain the information on-line. 
If you do not have access to the Internet or would prefer to receive information in hard 
copy please let me know and I wil  arrange for printouts from the appropriate web pages 
to be sent to you. 
Right to review 
If you are dissatisfied with this response, you may ask the University to conduct a review 
of this decision by contacting the University's Records Management Section in writing 
(e.g. by letter or email) or in some other recorded form (e.g. audio or video tape).  You 
should describe the original request, explain your grounds for dissatisfaction, and include 
an address for correspondence.  You have 40 working days from receipt of this letter to 
submit a review request.  The contact details for the Records Management Section are at 
the top of this letter.  When the review process has been completed, if you are stil  
dissatisfied, you may use the Scottish Information Commissioner’s guidance on making 
an appeal to make an appeal to the Commissioner.  If you do not have access to the 
Internet, please let me know and I wil  provide a copy of the relevant web pages. 
Privacy notice for information request applicants 
The University of Edinburgh's request privacy notice, which describes how we use the 
information you have supplied about yourself and your request, is published on the 
University website. 
Yours sincerely  
Celia Jenkins 
Project Officer 
 
 

 

 
If you require this letter in an alternative format, such as large print or 
a coloured background, please contact the Records Management 
Section on 0131 651 4099 or email xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx@xx.xx.xx 

 

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