COVID-19

Correct as of 03.08.2020 at 10:00 GMT

Health information

Question Answer
What is the latest UK health guidance on COVID-19? The official updates from the UK government provide the latest information on the virus in the UK. This includes health and travel advice for those coming into the UK and those travelling abroad, as well as information on current travel restrictions. This is an evolving situation and advice is constantly changing based on emerging information.

View the UK government’s information for the public on the coronavirus.
What precautions are being taken by Centre staff to protect students? We are carefully following the advice of the UK government and Public Health England (PHE), which is the UK government body responsible for public health and official medical advice, to ensure the health of our students, staff and the general public.

We have instructed our staff and students on what to do if they feel unwell. Staff are ensuring that students adhere to basic hygiene recommendations about regular hand washing and how to look after themselves.

Posters with information on health and hygiene have been displayed on campus. We have welfare teams on each campus that are trained to support students who have health concerns, including concerns related to the coronavirus, or concerns about the health of others.
Are staff testing students for signs of infection? We are following the guidance of the UK government and are not currently testing students. We have no plans to do so unless official guidance changes.
What is your advice on face masks? Public Health England (PHE) is not advising the public to wear face masks in the UK. However, if students wish to wear face masks they are welcome to do so.

PHE recommends that the best way to reduce any risk of infection is good hygiene. Our staff are ensuring that students adhere to basic hygiene recommendations about regular hand washing and how to look after themselves.
What can students do to protect themselves against infection? Public Health England advises the following hygiene measures:

DO
  • wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds
  • always wash your hands when you get home or into work
  • use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available
  • cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
  • put used tissues in the bin immediately and wash your hands afterwards
  • try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell.
DON’T
  • touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean.
View further advice on the NHS website.
What healthcare arrangements are in place if I become ill while on campus, in a class or at their accommodation? If a student shows the symptoms of COVID-19 they should follow official UK medical advice which is found below, along with details about how to self-isolate. They should also contact the Study Centre for information.

Stay at home for 7 days if you have either:
  • A high temperature
  • A new continuous cough
This will help to protect others in your community while you are infectious. Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. You do not need to contact NHS 111 to tell them you’re staying at home.

View the government’s advice on what to do if you are displaying symptoms of the coronavirus.
I am worried about my health – do I have to come to campus? We are carefully following the advice of the UK government and Public Health England to ensure the health of our students and staff.

If you are unable to attend classes, then you must inform your college or Study Centre of your plans so that they are able to support you.

Who should I contact with any other questions?

Please contact Centre staff or email globalstudentsupport@studygroup.com for assistance.

Travel information

Question Answer
Where can I find up to date travel advice for the UK? You can find the latest health and travel advice on the UK government website. This is an evolving situation and advice is constantly changing.

Government health and travel information

  • What is the latest UK government travel advice?

    You can find the latest health and travel advice on the UK government website. We advise that you check this regularly before making any travel plans as this is an evolving situation and advice is constantly changing.

  • What is the latest UK government health advice?

    The official updates from the UK government provide the latest health advice and information on how to help prevent the spread of infection in the UK.

    View the UK government’s information for the public on the coronavirus.

  • Are Centres and Colleges open in the UK?

    Our Centres and Colleges will be open for your studies**, and we are committed to creating a safe and enjoyable experience for you.

    We can’t wait for you to be in-Centre or College studying with us. This will take place as a mixture of as many classroom interactions as possible, supported by online learning.

    If, due to travel restrictions or personal health issues, you cannot travel to the UK for the start of the first term or semester, you can start your studies online from home.^

    You can arrive in-Centre or College at any point during the first term or semester. Providing there are no continuing travel restrictions or personal health issues, we would expect to see you in-Centre or College ahead of your studies continuing in January 2021^

    Our transition plan will ensure you have a smooth transfer to the UK.

    **Subject to satisfactory completion of our detailed health and safety risk assessment
    ^Excluding the University of Huddersfield International Study Centre

  • Can I travel to the UK to begin my studies?

    Our Centres and Colleges will be open for you to begin your studies in the UK.*

    We will issue you with a CAS*** so you can make a successful visa application that's valid for the length of your course, ensuring you have the flexibility you need whenever you choose to travel to the UK.

    We’ll ensure that you have all the information and support you need for your move to the UK.

    You should check government health and travel advice regularly before making any plans to travel.

    *Subject to satisfactory completion of our detailed health and safety risk assessment
    ***Subject to meeting the entry requirements

Admissions information

  • What English language qualifications are accepted at this time?

    Students enrolled on our International Foundation Year or International Year One programmes* can start their studies this autumn with a B1 Secure English Language Test (SELT) that meets UKVI requirements, provided they have met all the entry requirements.

    This applies to students who:

    • start online in their home country and then transit to campus in term/semester 1 (and no later than term or semester 2), or
    • begin in-Centre at the start of term or semester 1 with a mixture of classroom interactions and online learning.

    Students who are therefore finding it difficult to obtain a SELT (due to COVID-19 restrictions) can meet entry requirements and UKVI requirements - if necessary by separate tests - as listed below.

    Important information:

    1. English test results must meet the minimum English equivalency score for entry to the students chosen study programme
    2. The English test results must have been achieved in the past 24 months
    3. Students must obtain a UKVI SELT with the required minimum score in order to make a Tier 4 Visa application in advance of transitioning to on-campus study

    Students enrolling on Pre-Masters programmes have the option to submit the Duolingo test as an alternative English language test. You will need to be able to demonstrate to UKVI that your English ability is at B2 level in all four sub-skills of reading, writing, speaking and listening; unfortunately the Duolingo test does not give scores in all of these areas. Therefore to be issued with a CAS, you will be required to have a ten minute conversation with one of our Visa team so that we can demonstrate to the UKVI that we have spoken to you and assessed your English language level. The conversation will be friendly and relaxed and gives you the opportunity to ask any questions.

    For students that are unable to travel to the UK to begin their programme, we can confirm and enrol students who have yet to take a UKVI approved Secure English Language Test (SELT). This is possible because students do not need a Tier 4 Visa to study online in their home country.

    To determine English language proficiency, we will now accept a wider range of English tests including:

    IELTS Academic for UKVI
    IELTS Academic Non UKVI
    IELTS Indicator
    IGCSE/O Level English
    Trinity ISE AS/A Level English
    Pearson PTE IB English
    Language Cert American High School Diploma English
    TOEFL iBT, Home Edition SPM English
    Cambridge Business WAEC, WASSCE, NECO English
    Duolingo KCSE
    Password Solo Skills CBSE/ICSE English India HSC)
    Cambridge ESOL
    HKDSE English

    *This process cannot be used for the International Year One programmes at Kingston University London and University of Huddersfield ISCs and only applies to programmes beginning in September and October 2020.

  • Are there any changes to academic assessment criteria?

    We understand the disruption that many students will face in receiving their final results in 2020, so to ensure that no student is disadvantaged by this, we will take in to account individual circumstances when assessing academic achievement for entry to our programmes.

    If you cannot provide formal certificates, we can accept preliminary results for you to start studying online, however when you come to apply for a visa, you will need to ensure you have the right documents for your application. You should submit your official up to date qualifications once available for our internal records. If you have already met the requirements we will not change your offer based on your most recent qualification (once available).

    Please contact your agent or Student Enrolment Advisor if you would like to have your current offer updated with new requirements.

  • Will it affect my visa if I start my studies from my home country?

    Due to the current travel restrictions, UK Visas and Immigration have issued new guidance permitting international students to begin their studies online from their home country without requiring a visa. 

    If you begin your studies online, when the situation allows, we will support you in transitioning to in-Centre or College learning and a CAS will be issued to enable you to make your Tier 4 visa application to continue your studies. In the unlikely event that you are unable to obtain a visa we have amended our refund policy to include a number of instances when a refund would be payable as the circumstances may dictate.

    You can arrive in-Centre or College at any point during the first term or semester. Providing there are no continuing travel restrictions or personal health issues, we would expect to see you in Centre or College ahead of your studies continuing in January 2021^

    Terms and conditions apply.

    ^Excluding the University of Huddersfield International Study Centre

  • I want to cancel my place. What should I do?

    We are committed to working with every student on the options to continue studying with us.

    If you cannot travel to the UK for the start of the first term or semester, you can start your studies online from home. Starting your studies online will ensure you can still achieve your academic and career goals and progress to your chosen university degree, on time, from wherever you are in the world. You can arrive in-Centre or College at any point during the first term or semester. Providing there are no continuing travel restrictions or personal health issues, we would expect to see you in Centre or College ahead of your studies continuing in January 2021^

    We are offering an extended introductory period to ensure you have confidence and financial peace of mind to begin your studies online.

    You can try our online pathway programmes for 21 days before you make an important choice about how to continue with your education. If, within 21 days, you decide not to continue with your studies online, you can still select to defer your place, or withdraw from your studies with a full refund.* For further details, please refer to the Terms and Conditions page on our website.

    *provided you have an online attendance level of 80% or more
    ^Excluding the University of Huddersfield International Study Centre

  • Do I still need to pay a £1,000 security deposit if I am starting my studies online?

    To accept your offer of a place to study, a confirmation payment is required comprising of an administration fee of £235 and a £1,000 security deposit.

    The security deposit is primarily held against any damages incurred to Centre or College property and related expenses. It may also be offset against any outstanding fees or debts incurred by you throughout the duration of your course. On completion of your course, any monies left after deductions made for any amount outstanding at that time will be refunded to you within 90 days.

    Even if you begin your studies online, it is expected that you will return to studying in Centre or College during your course and the deposit payment is required in advance to confirm your place as usual. This will minimise the risk of unnecessary disruption to your studies that may be caused by demanding payment at a later date for you to be able to travel and continue with your studies in Centre.

    Prior to enrolling to begin your studies online, you will also need to pay £6,000 of your tuition fees in advance. You can make this payment at any point between confirming your place and enrolling online to begin your studies. It is beneficial for you to make this payment early, as you will then gain access to Prepare for Success – a free virtual preparation course designed to give you a head start in your studies.

Study information

  • How will you ensure a safe study environment?

    Your health and wellbeing are our top priority. We have put a rigorous health and safety risk-assessment in place so you can be assured of a safe and inclusive campus environment.

    We will ensure you feel confident to start your programme in the UK. Our Centres and Colleges will be adapted to ensure that they are safe, through the following measures:

    • We will encourage the wearing of face-coverings around our buildings;
    • We will provide hand sanitisers in all our buildings; 
    • We will have enhanced regular cleaning and sterilising regimes; 
    • We will manage the flow of people around our buildings;
    • We will manage social distancing including limiting class sizes; 
    • We will make use of online learning and will ensure the right balance of face-to-face interactions and engaging with learning and fellow students online.
    • We will take additional steps to ensure that vulnerable students or those with special requirements are given enhanced and appropriate levels of support.
  • What will my study experience be like in the UK?

    In order to create the safest possible learning environment, and whilst social distancing restrictions are in place, you will enjoy a mixture of face-to-face and online learning.

    When you join our Centres or Colleges, you'll receive a warm welcome and plenty of support to help you succeed. Our induction Week programme will help you settle in to student life and make the most of your student experience. As part of our programme of welcome activities we will encourage you to take the opportunity to meet your teachers and fellow students both online and face-to-face if possible - you will be fully part of our international community from day one.

    As soon as you start your programme, you will meet other international students who are going through a very similar experience to you. During your time in the UK, you will have the opportunity to join clubs and societies where you will meet people who share a common interest.

    You could also become a Student Ambassador, or alternatively join the student council to represent your fellow students.

  • What can I expect from my course?

    If you are joining us at the Centre or College, you will benefit from a mixture of as many face-to-face interactions as possible, supported by online learning while social distancing restrictions are still in place. You will also receive one-to-one support, giving you help and guidance every step of the way.

    If you are starting your course online, teaching, learning and student support will involve some 'live' sessions with your teacher. We will ensure that these sessions are delivered at a time of day which is suitable for the various time-zones of the students in your class.

    Most teaching will be delivered through pre-recorded lessons and independent learning tasks that you can complete at a time of day that suits you.

    Teachers will also be engaging with you individually in order to provide academic and pastoral support.

  • What should I do if I am in the UK and need health advice or welfare support?

    If you show the symptoms of COVID-19 then you should follow official UK medical advice. You should also contact your Centre or College for further information.

  • Will I be able to study online if I can’t travel to the UK this autumn?

    If, due to travel restrictions, you are unable to travel to the UK for the start of the first term or semester, you can start your studies online from home.^

    You can arrive in-Centre or College at any point during the first term or semester. Providing there are no continuing travel restrictions or personal health issues, we would expect to see you in Centre or College ahead of your studies continuing in January 2021.^ Our transition plan will ensure you have a smooth transfer to the UK.

    ^Excluding the University of Huddersfield International Study Centre

  • What equipment will I need to help me study?

    As some lessons will be taught online, you will need to have a PC or Mac based computer. Whilst it is possible to access and interact with most course content using a tablet or smartphone, these devices will not work for assessments. If you do not have access to equipment, please let us know so that we can support you.

    Computer

    While it is possible to access and interact with most course content using various tablets and smartphones, such as iPads, iPhones and Android devices, these devices will not work for assessments and therefore it is important that you have a PC or Mac based computer available for use.

    PC

    • Any Microsoft Windows based PC (laptop or desktop, preferably running Windows 10)
    • Web Browser: Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge (Chromium version)
    • Webcam
    • Microphone
    • Installation of Zoom for Virtual Classroom

    Mac

    • Any Apple MacOS based laptop or desktop
    • Web Browser: Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge (Chromium version)
    • Webcam
    • Microphone
    • Installation of Zoom for Virtual Classroom

    Internet Connection

    Internet connectivity is required for access to all coursework. Internet connectivity could be in the form of a fixed line connection, 3G/4G/5G, wi-fi or other technologies.

    Minimum: 600kbps download and 600kbps upload speed

    Recommended: at least 1.5Mbps download and 1.5Mbps upload speed

    Zoom Restricted Countries

    Zoom is used for access to virtual classroom and is therefore an important part of all courses. Zoom is unavailable or restricted in several countries, with the full list available here. While Zoom may still work from the countries listed, individuals should test Zoom using their own equipment to ensure connectivity.

  • How will you monitor my attendance if I am learning online?

    Your attendance will be monitored through your engagement with online learning activities. You will be expected to engage with all course activities provided to you.

  • How will online learning be assessed?
    • Assessments will be held online via coursework submissions. We use Turnitin software which scans for plagiarism and other forms of academic impropriety.
    • There may be some skills that we can't assess online such as practical lab skills and we are looking at alternatives for students impacted by this. As government travel guidance is changing regularly, we will provide more guidance on assessments and exams relating to specific programmes of study in due course. These will be in line with approaches taken by our university partners and, as appropriate, with guidance that is due to be issued by the UK government’s Department for Education.
  • Is there any change to the progression requirements?

    Currently, there has been no change made to this aspect of our programmes. Students will continue to work towards the same targets, and we will be supporting you to achieve these through online sessions.

    On successful completion of your programme you will of course be supported in your transition to degree programme studies at your chosen university.

  • Can I work in the UK after graduation?

    Yes, you can take advantage of the new Graduate Immigration Route and benefit from the opportunity to work for you up to two years after graduation with your valid Tier 4 visa.

Before you depart

  • What do I need to do once I have confirmed my place?

    Book your accommodation

    We understand that where you live can often be as important as where you will study. You can find out all you need to know about your accommodation options on the Centre or College websites. If you have confirmed (or for some Centres or Colleges conditionally confirmed) your place and requested accommodation at application stage, we are now processing bookings and will be in contact to help you book your accommodation. We currently have plenty of availability in our usual residences but we do advise you to secure your accommodation as soon as you can. All of our accommodation is available for use by students if they need to quarantine or self-isolate for 14 days.

    If you are under 18 years of age at the start of your course, you are required to book your accommodation through Study Group.

    You can also arrange your own private accommodation, but you will need to let us know where you are staying.

    Make sure that you have secured your accommodation before arriving in the UK.

    Apply for your visa

    As an international student, you are likely to require a visa to study in the UK. Guidance for Tier 4 visas is different during the Covid-19 pandemic but our guidance will be updated regularly

    Our Admissions Centre will advise and issue the relevant documents based on the type of visa you will be applying for.

    Tier 4 visa

    For a Tier 4 visa you will need a Confirmation of Acceptance of Studies (CAS) number which will be issued to you by our Admissions Centre. You can only apply for your Tier 4 visa once you have received your CAS number and the application must be made no more than three months before your course start date.

    Our Admissions Centre will issue a CAS preview by email usually within three months of the course start date, provided you:

    1. Have met all academic, English language and other conditions in your offer letter
    2. Have completed, signed and returned your Acceptance and Indemnity Form to the Admissions Centre
    3. Are up-to-date with your payments as stated in your offer letter and payment plan.

    Carefully check all the details on the CAS preview and return the signed CAS Declaration document.

    Once we have received your CAS Declaration, we will issue you with your CAS statement that will include your CAS number.

    Before you submit your Tier 4 visa application make sure you understand and meet all the requirements to avoid a visa refusal.

    Before you apply, make sure you have:

    • sufficient funds in an acceptable account maintained for at least 28 consecutive days
    • paid the Immigration Health Surcharge for NHS health care treatment

    As part of your visa application you may be asked to attend a visa interview either face to face, by video conference or on the telephone. You may be asked questions about the reasons for studying in the UK, why you have chosen to study at your chosen destination and why you will study your chosen course. You should know about your chosen study destination and course and how it relates to your overall career plans as well as how you intend to fund your studies in the UK. You must answer all questions truthfully and accurately.

    What is the Biometric Residence Permit?

    If your Tier 4 visa application is successful, you will have a 30 day entry vignette in your passport (entitling you to enter the UK within the 30 day period indicated) and a UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) decision letter outlining the details of your Biometric Residence Permit (BRP).

    Short-term study visa

    For the Short-term study visa, you will be issued a visa letter that will outline all the necessary details about your course (duration, fees etc.). As part of the application you will need to submit:

    • Evidence that you can financially support yourself during your studies e.g. bank statements for the last 6 months
    • Proof of the course you intend to study
    • You may also need to submit additional supporting documents depending on your circumstances.

    Complete our Pre-Registration Form

    At the start of August, we will send you a Pre-Registration Form. We need to know when you will arrive in-Centre or College, or if you are starting your studies online. If coming to the Centre or College, you must complete this with your travel information - so we know when to expect you - and your visa details and return it to us. If you are starting online in your home country, we would like to know when you might be planning to travel.

    Make sure you are insured

    In our experience, it is essential that international students have the protection of personal insurance for the duration of their time in the UK.

    When you applied to the International Study Centre, you will have had the option of taking insurance cover with StudyCare Insurance Plus. This insurance policy covers loss of personal possessions as well as providing health and medical insurance. If you have not taken this option, please make sure you have secured your own policy.

  • What do I need to pack?

    You’ll need to pack some important items, such as your passport and visa, in your hand luggage for easy access, while other non-essential items can be packed away in your suitcase.

    So you can travel a little lighter, you can order essential items to be delivered to your accommodation before you travel too. Visit Uni Kit Out's website for more information.

    As some lessons will be taught online, you will need to have a PC or Mac based computer. Whilst it is possible to access and interact with most course content using a tablet or smartphone, these devices will not work for assessments. If you do not have access to equipment, please let us know so that we can support you.

    PC

    • Any Microsoft Windows based PC (laptop or desktop, preferably running Windows 10)
    • Web Browser: Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge (Chromium version)
    • Webcam
    • Microphone
    • Installation of Zoom for Virtual Classroom

    Mac

    • Any Apple MacOS based laptop or desktopWeb Browser: Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge (Chromium version)
    • Webcam
    • Microphone
    • Installation of Zoom for Virtual Classroom

    Things to pack in your hand luggage

    • Passport and visa
    • UKVI decision letter
    • Your offer letter
    • Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) statement
    • IELTS certificate or other original Secure English Language Test result
    • Evidence of funding for your tuition fees and living costs, including sponsor letter (if you are being sponsored)
    • Accommodation documents, including your signed tenancy agreement
    • Four passport-sized photographs
    • Any insurance documents
    • Medical certificates including vaccination records
    • Essential toiletries and medications (please check with your airline what’s permitted)
    • If you are under the age of 18, a copy of your UK Guardian details
    • Enough money to live on in the first few weeks. We advise using traveller’s cheques and not bringing large amounts of cash.

    You may also want to bring:

    • Comfortable clothing such as trainers, jeans, t-shirts, jumpers and a warm coat. The dress code at the Centre or College is informal.
    • Study supplies, e.g. pens and paper notepads – these may be less expensive in your home country.
    • At least one travel adaptor plug – 240v with a three-pin plug.

Getting here

  • What do I need to know about coming through border control?

    Upon arrival in the UK, you will pass through immigration control first, ahead of collecting your luggage. A Border Force Officer will check your passport and visa. You’ll also need to show your completed form, either by printing a copy, or showing it on your phone.

    When you enter the UK with Tier 4 immigration permission, the Officer must be satisfied that you speak English at the required level, without needing an interpreter.

    We advise that you carry the following documents in paper form (do not rely only on an electronic tablet or mobile phone), in case the Officer asks to see them:

    • your Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) letter/number
    • your finances
    • where you are going to stay

    After collecting your luggage and making your way through customs, you will reach the Arrivals Hall.

  • When should I arrive in the UK?

    Your course will start on the first day of term or semester as per your offer letter, or on your Centre or College website, and will start with Induction Week. The first day of teaching will begin the following week.

    For students arriving from outside of the UK, current local government guidelines require a 14-day quarantine period for many countries. You can see a full list of exempt countries here. Alternatively, please see the What if I need to Quarantine? section below for more information.

    If you have booked your accommodation via Study Group, we recommend you arrive at your accommodation the weekend before Induction Week. If you need to quarantine, it may be possible for you to arrive at your accommodation earlier than this date. More information on this will be available to you during the booking process.

  • How should I travel to my Centre or College?

    We recommend that when you arrive in the UK, you should make your own transfer arrangements to the Centre or College. Useful links:

    Remember if you are using public transport, including taxis, you are required to wear a face-covering.

    If you need to go into quarantine for 14 days, are under 18 or are vulnerable, we will provide a transfer by taxi for you (at an additional cost).

  • What if I need to quarantine?

    Should you need to quarantine for 14 days, you will need to provide your details before you travel. Find out more here.

    Upon arrival at your Centre or College, our staff will ensure you have everything you need to be able to settle in. Whilst you will not be able to go to the local shops, we will make sure that you can access supplies of bedding packs, shopping deliveries and take-away services.

    Useful links:

    Online deliveries from supermarkets such as Tescos, Sainsbury's, Morrisons and Asda are available too.

    You will have your Induction Week and first week of teaching online, or up until the point where you have been in quarantine for 14 days.

  • When will my accommodation be ready for me?

    You must ensure you have accommodation booked before arriving at your Centre or College. If your accommodation is booked through Study Group, it will be available from the weekend before Induction Week. You will receive full information on accessing your room before you depart your home country.

  • What happens during Induction Week?

    All students will take part in an Induction Week programme, whether you are coming straight to a Centre or College, undergoing 14-day quarantine in the UK, or starting your studies online from home.

    Our Induction Week programme will introduce you to your Centre or College, our staff and welfare and support services. You will also receive full guidance on maintaining your health and safety whilst studying in the UK.

    You will find out about your timetable, as well as important information about how we will deliver your course through a mixture of classroom teaching and online learning, or online if you are starting your studies in your home country. There will also be events to help you to get to know your fellow students.

    If you are not required to quarantine, then some of the Induction Week activity may take place with our staff in the Centre or College, e.g. registration sessions for the Biometric Residence Permit.

  • What if I start or enrol late on my course?

    All students should attend their Induction Week, whether already at the Centre or College, in quarantine, or online from another country.

    If you start your programme online from your home country you are allowed to arrive in-Centre or College at any point during the first term or semester. Providing there are no travel restrictions or personal health issues, we will expect to see you in-Centre or College ahead of your studies continuing in January 2021^.

    If you are not required to quarantine, then some of this activity may take place with our staff in the Centre or College, e.g. registration sessions for the Biometric Residence Permit.

    ^Excluding the University of Huddersfield International Study Centre

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