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Stranded Indian students at LMU offered places at other universities

Among nearly 2,600 non-EU students, over 350 students are Indians and are being offered places at other universities after the London Metropolitan University (LMU) took off its licence to admit and teach international students last week.

Last week, the government banned LMU from teaching non-European foreign students, accusing it of protecting illegal immigrants in the guise of students. UK Border Agency (UKBA) officials responsible for imposing visa rules were poring over details of the university’s more than 2,500 non-EU students to assess their eligibility.

The government has set up a taskforce to help the stranded students find alternative places. A taskforce constituted to support current students at various stages of their courses is coordinating offers of places from universities in London and other places.

Universities’ Minister David Willetts said the genuine students who are affected through no fault of their own are offered prompt advice and help, including, if necessary, with finding other institutions at which to finish their studies.

Several universities were reported to have offered places to the affected students. Some universities have offered to charge the same fees as LMU even though their fees are higher than LMU’s.

Leicester-based Dominic Shellard, vice-chancellor of De Montfort University, said he was happy to see if London Met students could be accommodated at his institution.

The University of East London (UEL) has set up a hotline for LMU students, while others Middlesex University, University of Bedfordshire and De Montfort University have also expressed interest in accepting LMU students affected by the licence revocation.

New non-EU students, who had acquired student visas planning to travel to Britain to join a course at LMU have been advised to cancel their travel plans. LMU has closed its offices in New Delhi and Chennai, while the university has informed some of the affected new students that they could have fees refunded.

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