The London Metropolitan University (LMU) continued to “recruit” Indian students for over a month after the UK authorities first suspended its licence to admit students from outside the European Union, even though it could not have admitted them.
It also continued to collect fees from international students it had awarded admissions for the 2012-13 academic year, though they cannot legally enter the UK. The university is now refunding the fees.
Documents accessed by HT reveal that the LMU, through its authorised agents in India, continued to court Indian students to pick courses at the university till the UK Border Agency (UKBA) finally scrapped the licence end-August.But the UKBA — the agency that decides which universities can admit foreign students — had first suspended LMU’s licence on July 16 indefinitely, pending an audit. The LMU has 15 authorised agents across the country.
“Yes, we continued recruiting students till the licence was finally revoked,” Sabarinath Vijayakumar, the India representative of LMU confirmed to HT. “But this was because we were confident that the suspension would be lifted.” Vijayakumar also confirmed that they continued accepting fees.
While the licence was suspended, however, the LMU could not have legally admitted any of the Indian students its agents continued to lure. The LMU has challenged the UKBA order in court and has opened a hotline to help worried students.
“Very simply, we were being fooled,” said Rajesh Trivedi, a student advised by a Mumbai agent authorised by LMU, to seek admission to the university.
The university admitted about 700 Indian students last year — across both its Spring and Fall admission windows. But the number dropped to 350 this year, Vijayakumar said, because of strict new visa rules that no longer allow students to automatically stay back in the UK and work for a year after completing their studies.