This information about coronavirus (COVID-19) is for students who have applied to study at ARU, or are interested in coming to events on our campuses, such as Open Days.
We’ve answered some key questions about applying to university and studying at ARU, and we’ll continue to update this page as the situation develops.
If you're already a student at ARU, check our advice for current students.
The coronavirus situation is evolving rapidly and we’re monitoring the situation on a daily basis.
We’re following the latest advice provided by Public Health England (PHE), and providing regular updates to our community – including current and prospective students.
Following the Government's announcement about the cancellation of summer exams, we're considering how best to support our applicants and offer holders to join ARU in September 2020.
ARU is a supportive and welcoming community. We've long recognised that exam grades are not the only indicator of success.
We're working hard at the moment to make sure that no student’s application to study with us this September is adversely affected by the impact of the COVID-19 virus. That means we'e following our usual student admissions processes as far as possible.
Our friendly Admissions Team will be in contact with you directly over the coming weeks to talk about your individual circumstances and to offer any support and advice you may need.
If you have any immediate questions or concerns about the impact of the COVID-19 virus on your plans to join us in September, there are several ways to get in touch:
We know it's a very unsettling time but we will happily answer your questions and concerns to the best of our ability.
Yes, if you’re interested in studying abroad as part of your degree, we recommend applying as normal.
If you’re starting a course at ARU in September 2020, this means applying by January 2021 for the following year. You can complete an application form once you’ve started studying with us.
Most new students will now be joining us in September 2020. We hope that visa centres, if they have closed, will re-open in plenty of time for you to apply for a visa.
To apply for your student visa, you’ll need a Confirmation of Acceptance of Studies (CAS) from us. We usually start to issue these in June.
The UK Minister of State for Universities, Michelle Donelan, issued a letter to students on 26 March. This sets out the latest advice and arrangements from Government, in particular around visa arrangements for international students.
If you’re due to start a course at ARU in April, May or early summer, we will be in contact with you to provide advice – but if you have specific concerns or questions please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Unfortunately, we have had to temporarily suspend delivery of our own English Language Proficiency Test (ELPT) at our campuses in Cambridge and Chelmsford. We are looking at alternative options to let you take our test safely and securely.
If you have already booked a test we will be in contact with you.
If you would like to take a test, but haven't yet booked, email your details to email@example.com and we will let you know when tests become available again.
Our preferred tests are IELTS (Academic), TOEFL iBT and Pearson PTE (Academic), so we recommend you take one of these if possible. We are aware that in a number of locations, these tests have been suspended in line with official requirements of healthcare authorities, due to COVID-19.
If your country is affected by such test centre closures, we will accept the following alternative tests:
We will also consider the Duolingo English Test, with scores of 100 for undergraduate entry and 110 for postgraduate entry. If your score is below these requirements, we can consider you for an online pre-sessional English course.
With all of the alternative tests, we reserve the right to undertake additional English language verification at the CAS issuance stage (for Tier 4 students).
We will refund your deposit (usually paid by international students) if you are not able to join us due to issues relating to COVID-19. The refund will be paid in full, subject to any exchange rate fluctuations and bank charges.
Alternatively, you can choose to join us in January 2021, and we can hold your deposit for then.
Please note that refunds may not be given if a visa is refused, arising from the submission of false or incomplete information to the United Kingdom Visas and Immigration service (UKVI).
We're committed to provide an outstanding educational experience and excellent support for all our apprentices. Following close consultation with employers, professional bodies and the Students' Union, we are planning for the majority of ARU apprentices to learn off campus from September to December. The exceptions will be Town Planner, Chartered Surveyor and Bioinformatician. For these courses further information will be shared with your employer shortly.
If you would like to discuss any of the information below or have any further questions please get in touch with the International team
There is not a deadline to pay your deposit, however you will need to pay your deposit in time to obtain your CAS and apply for your Visa. Your deposit is refundable if you do not decide / are not able to join us in September.
Yes, if you are unable to start your studies you will be able to have your deposit refunded.
Yes. You can defer your start date to January if you wish to. Please email our international admissions team at firstname.lastname@example.org with your name, applicant ID number and deferral request.
While we look forward to welcoming new and returning students on campus in September, we are aware that students around the world would have been affected in different ways by the pandemic, and that joining us for face-to-face, on-campus education might not be possible for everyone. Therefore, if you wish to do so, or your circumstances do not allow you to join us on campus, you will be able to complete the first semester (September – December 2020) online, before returning to study with us on campus in January 2021. The tuition fees for the course will remain the same.
This is likely to vary from country to country, depending on the COVID situation in each region. However, we hope and expect that many visa centres will re-open in good time for students to secure their visas.
Yes. We still plan to issue CAS (Confirmations of Acceptance for Studies) for students who wish to come in September, so visa preparations should be made as normal.
The Minister of State for Universities, Michelle Donelan, issued a letter to international students on 22 June, about studying in the UK from autumn 2020. Read the letter below.
The Minister also issued letters on 9 April and 26 March. These set out the latest advice and arrangements from Government, in particular around visa arrangements for international students, and university accommodation. You can read them below.
Dear International Students,
As Universities Minister, I wanted to write to you to provide reassurances that we have taken action to keep you safe and to mitigate the worst effects of COVID-19 on you and your education.
The COVID-19 outbreak is an unprecedented situation and poses significant challenges to higher education, its students and staff in virtually every country around the world. Government is adhering closely to the most up-to-date scientific advice, which is available publicly online. As this changes, our advice will change to match the level of the threat. Using this scientific advice, as well as Public Health England guidance, we are working closely with the higher education sector on a wide range of issues and your wellbeing is, and will remain, at the heart of those discussions.
I want to emphasise to you that our Government not only recognises, but also appreciates, the positive contribution that you and all international students provide to the UK – socially, culturally and economically. You enrich the university experience for all students, bringing greater diversity to university and college campuses, as well as fresh ideas and new perspectives. This cultural exchange helps build life-long friendships, as well as laying the foundations for future networks, and important business, political and diplomatic bridges. We understand that this a difficult and challenging time, but we want you to know that we are taking all necessary steps to support you as much as we can and for as long as needed. We’re proud to be a supportive and inclusive community and it is in times like these when our community spirit comes through most.
We want you to enjoy your time in the UK and to get the most out of studying at our world-class universities. To mitigate the worst effects of the virus on your student experience, we are working closely with universities and I am pleased to see that the sector is making every effort to enable you to continue your studies – including moving learning online either in the UK or in your home country – so that your teaching and assessment can proceed.
Our first priority, however, is your health, safety and wellbeing. I have been discussing with universities the additional support that they can give to both domestic and international students. I wrote to universities in England on 20 and 26 March, urging them to prioritise the needs of all students who remain at their university accommodation. This includes the large number of international students who have decided to stay in the UK or cannot travel home. They have a duty of care to you, which they recognise and will carry out. This includes continuing to provide accommodation if you cannot travel home or have no alternative residence. Universities will also offer a range of support services to students, including support for catering and cleaning, and providing support for mental health which is a key consideration for me.
Many providers are bolstering their existing mental health services, and adapting delivery to means other than face-to-face. I would encourage you to stay in touch with your provider’s student support and welfare teams, as these services are likely to be an important source of support during this period of social distancing. If you are struggling with your mental health at this time, you can also access online resources from Public Health England, along with online support from the NHS and mental health charity Mind https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/tips-for-everyday-living/student-life/about-student-mental-health. The Government recently announced a £5m-grant for mental health, to be administered by Mind, to support those people, including students, who require this support.
In addition to support from your university, the UK emergency services are also here for you. They are here for you as much as they are for other UK residents. Our National Health Service can provide you with specific COVID-19 advice through a new COVID-19 online service https://111.nhs.uk/covid-19 or, if you cannot get online, by calling 111. The police are also here to keep you safe, with new public health regulations that will support officers in enforcing measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
I also want to be underline that both the UK Government and the higher education sector are clear that you must feel welcome and safe here – on and off campus. There is no place in our society – including within higher education – for harassment, discrimination or racism. You have a right to access education and be in this country without fear of harassment and discrimination. We want to ensure that everyone with the talent and potential to succeed in higher education has the opportunity to do so, regardless of nationality, or ethnic or national origins, and we will not tolerate xenophobia of any kind.
I recognise that some of you will be concerned about your visa status. That is why the Government will be applying discretion under current circumstances to ensure you are not negatively impacted if you find yourself in a position where you cannot comply with certain visa rules. Full guidance for those affected by changes to UK immigration and borders due to COVID-19 can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/coronavirus-covid-19-immigration-and-borders This guidance includes the latest information for those of you who might have questions around visa expiry, switching visa category within the UK, distance learning and working-hour restrictions for student doctors and nurses. If you have concerns about your visa status you should email the Government’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) Immigration Help Centre at CIH@homeoffice.gov.uk
The latest Government advice is that you should only leave your home or accommodation in the UK for very limited purposes: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-stay-at-home-guidance. If you live in university-owned, or privately-owned, university accommodation, universities will do all they can to ensure that you have access to support, food and other provisions. To protect yourself and others you should adhere to Government advice while in the UK. However, if you are considering returning to your home country, please seek advice from your country’s embassy or consulate in the UK. You should not travel if you have symptoms of COVID-19 yourself, or if you are self-isolating for 14 days because someone else in your household / shared accommodation has had COVID-19 symptoms. Symptoms of COVID-19 include a high temperature or a new, continuous cough.
Whether you have already travelled home, have decided to remain in the UK, or cannot travel home, I understand that you will be concerned about what you should do now. I have therefore included as an annex to this letter all the Government’s latest guidance, as well as a list of resources and contacts available should you have questions or concerns.
Our world-leading universities, which thrive on being global institutions, will always be open to international students. Both Government and the higher education sector are working together to ensure existing rules and processes are as flexible as possible under the current unprecedented circumstances to ensure that those of you planning to study in the UK from Autumn 2020 can do so. We will continue to work with the sector and with student representatives and do all we can to keep you safe.
Michelle Donelan MP
Minister of State for Universities