Bristol and Exeter universities chartering flights to bring in high-paying Chinese students

Bristol University campus
Bristol University.

Bosses at West Country universities are chartering flights to bring Chinese students into the country amid concerns about the Delta variant continuing to make travel difficult.

A number of top universities are worried about losing millions of pounds in tuition fees that they are making travel arrangements for overseas students who are struggling to get here, according to a report by The Times.

The report says there are more than 50 universities involved in the scheme to help the 220,000 Chinese students studying in the UK, as they provide nearly a fifth of all tuition fee income.

All direct commercial flights to the UK from mainland China have been stopped, meaning the students would have to travel via Hong Kong, which is on the UK's green list for travel.

Bristol and Exeter have already chartered four flights in conjunction with Imperial College London, bringing in around 1,200 Chinese students.

Exeter University. Credit: PA Images.

Sources say the universities also have to arrange airport transfers from Heathrow, accommodation and food for the students who would quarantine for 10 days at their chosen universities.

But it has raised questions about how much effort the the universities are putting into helping students from abroad because of the fees they generate.

A spokesperson for the University of Bristol said: “Universities across the country have been working together to help our new and returning overseas students safely travel to the UK for their studies.

“Specifically, we are part of a consortium of universities which has been granted permission to charter flights for a small number of Chinese students.

"We will be supporting them to quarantine upon arrival, in line with Government guidance.”