In a joint letter sent today, business secretary Vince Cable and universities and science minister David Willetts ask institutions to make sure they support Syrian students so that the “worst case scenario” of expulsion or legal action over unpaid fees is avoided.
“We were pleased to hear that many institutions are making sure that warning letters regarding non-payment of fees that would normally be sent automatically are not being sent,” the letter says.
“We are also pleased that many universities have waived or deferred fees,” it continues.
It details a recent concession by the Home Office that allows Syrian students to switch their visa categories or extend their leave to remain without having to return to the war-torn country.
“The extension for one year will be a great relief to those students anxious about their current situation and status in the UK,” the letter explains.
It provides a number of examples of the help UK universities are offering.
“We understand that the University of Edinburgh, which has around twice the average number of Syrian students, has provided fee deferrals, access to hardship funds and general counselling and advice,” it says.
“The University of Newcastle, which has around three times the average number of Syrian students, is also deferring the payment of fees for students who are not privately funded and is providing financial assistance to some students.”