pathway programme
If you don't meet the requirements to get into your chosen degree programme, a pathway programme is your best bet. Source: Natalia Kolesnikova/AFP

The COVID-19 pandemic is wreaking havoc on the plans of high school leavers to study in their dream locations in the US and UK. The good news is there are deals and perks — including visa refunds! — to keep your 2020 study abroad dreams alive.

If you’re worried about how the closure of national borders and visa processing centres will affect your 2020 financial plans, check out Study Group’s “21-day money back satisfaction offer”. International students who sign up for their pathway programmes — which provide the language, academic and social skills for university — will have a three-week introductory period to experience learning online.

If students choose not to continue at the end of this period, they can either defer their place to a future intake or choose to withdraw their place at no extra cost, provided they have an online attendance level of 80% or more.

They’ve also amended their visa refund policy.

“When teaching moves from online to on-campus, you will need to obtain a visa for travel to study in the UK or Europe. We have removed the financial risk from being refused a visa as we have introduced a new visa refund policy,” they said. 

This policy includes several instances where international students would be eligible for a refund in the unlikely event they are unable to obtain a visa.

Study Group helps students get into their chosen universities across the UK, Europe, North America and Australasia through its on-campus International Study Centres. It was accepted onto the Office for Students (OfS) register of Higher Education Providers after meeting the strict requirements for course quality, academic standards, student support and student protection.

Flexible learning for international students

visa refunds

The pandemic has left plenty of uncertainty for students who wish to study abroad. Source: Patricia De Melo Moreira/AFP

If you want more flexibility over how and when you plan to start university, take a look at Oxford International Education Group’s newly-launched series of online programmes. They are aimed at supporting their current and future students, including combined face-to-face and online learning courses and flexible start dates.

For instance, their English language classes in the UK, Canada and US have moved to virtual classroom programmes where students learn with interactive group lessons alongside tailored one-to-one tutorials.

Their international colleges based at De Montfort University,  Bangor University,  University of Dundee and the University of Greenwich have also started delivering online lessons using Virtual Learning Environments which are available 24/7 with scheduled interactive tutorial sessions.

All are designed by the academic teams that create their traditional courses and can be tailored to support student learning in various parts of the globe.

Speaking to The PIE NewsCEO of Oxford International Education Group Lil Bremermann-Richard  said, “We’ve listened to what our education consultants have told us and conducted an internal applicant survey to create three options for study that support the different types of students who have expressed interested in joining us in the autumn.”

Their start dates in September, October, November and January and variety of “learning modalities” —  face-to-face, online and blended — “will enable students to continue to meet their academic goals for the future, despite the disruption that COVID-19 has produced,” according to Bremermann-Richard.

“We believe this is the most flexible model for international students in the sector.” 

Pathway providers are playing an increasingly important role in student recruitment.

In 2019, Study Group Managing Director for UK and Europe James Pitman said via The PIE News that pathway providers have increasingly demonstrated a highly respectable track record, adding that prestigious universities, including members of the Russell Group, also collaborate with such companies. 

In the US, over 15,000 students enter US higher education through pathway ventures, reported University World News.

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