International students may stay away in wake of atrocities

October 12, 2001

Universities are waiting to see whether the numbers of international students turning up will be lower than expected in the wake of the September 11 atrocities, writes Cherry Canovan.

At London Guildhall University, a spokesman said a clear picture would not emerge until enrolment data had been collected.

He said: "We understand the tragedy might be putting international students off coming. We are communicating with them by telling them that we can defer their entry for a year or extend the enrolment period. We want to show flexibility and compassion."

The London School of Economics, a magnet for overseas students, said it had extended its enrolment period to give leeway to those experiencing difficulties with visa applications.

At international education council Ukcosa, chief executive Clive Saville said that anecdotal evidence suggested that international students had been turning up as expected.

"By the time it (the attack on America) happened, most people had bought their tickets.

"The impression I have is that people are more worried about what's going to happen with January enrolments," he said.

Glasgow School of Art has gone ahead with plans to send staff and student work to New York as part of the UK with NY festival.

The school's director, Seona Reid, said it had been "deeply influenced" by the festival organisers' view that going ahead would be a gesture of solidarity.

Sandy Wormfeld, dean of fine art at Hunter College, which is hosting the postgraduate exhibition, said: "The mood here is that we must continue and not let this defeat us. Having you guys here will celebrate life and solidarity."

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