International Students' Officer Referendum

Should Sheffield Hallam Students' Union introduce a full time International Students' Officer? - The case For

Full-time International Students’ Officer (ISO)

According to the 2017/18 students voice report, many issues affecting International Students are isolation and loneliness, accommodation problems or complications in student finance are greatly exacerbated by the steer fact that these students are International.

International Students have a particular concern about writing, vocabulary, and correctly referencing sources in their written submissions, the latter point might lead to International students finding them being taken through the academic misconduct process. The results of this, is due to the fact that, University failed to consider differences in education background and provide adequate and subsequent supports accordingly.  

Another issue experienced by international students is caused by complicated visa regulations, and support sorely needed for students to overcome it. We appreciate the supports provided by the International experience team but with ISO this issue could be better.

This referendum is big for international students as it will mean we would have a full-time officer dedicated to ensuring international students are fully represented making sure all policies and decisions made in the University and in the Students’ Union has international students in mind.

International students come from far and wide and are far away from home. They require all the support they can get to make them feel at home in the UK, or at least to make sure they do not feel less of who they are.

Representation within the University is a huge concern for International students. International students felt like representation within the University and the Students Union was geared towards UK students and they had limited opportunity for their voice to be heard. turnout in the students' Union elections was high among International students this year, and for the second year in a row one of the full time elected officers is an International student. However, just 4.5% of student representatives, including both course and department representatives, at Sheffield Hallam University, are International students. A diverse environment should encourage participation, equality and promote diversity.

In the same vein, the Yes campaign team understand and acknowledge that there exist many other groups of students such as LGBT+, disabled students, mature students, commuter students, black and minority ethnic and many more who share similar views on underrepresentation or faced with significant challenges. We hope to create an environment where all students are fully represented regardless of their background, beliefs, cultures, gender or races.

There are 4000 plus international students at Sheffield Hallam University, and the minimum cost of studying for International students is £12,750 as tuition fees while local students are much lower. This means that international students pay much more fees than home students. In light of this, the amount of supports and assistance received by International students is very small from the University and the Union.

The Yes campaign team believes in creating value for students which currently is the central point for discussion by the Office for Students, England. Thus; the only reasons for calling for referendum on International Students full time officer to represent their interests and raise their concerns to senior management of the University. An ISO will mean that international students can speak to someone who will understand exactly what they are going through.

The 2018 report from the Higher Education Policy Institute indicated that, international students are worth £20 billion to the UK economy with emphasise that; Sheffield is the biggest beneficiary in proportion to its economy.

In addition, the analysis, carried out by London Economics added that, International Students bring economic benefits to the UK that are worth 10 times the costs of hosting them.

A research conducted for Universities UK by Oxford Economics found that in 1 year (2014-2015):

  • The economic activity and employment sustained by international students' off campus spending generated £1 billion tax revenues. This is the equivalent to the salaries of 31,700 nurses or 25,000 police officers
  • Spending by international students supported 206,600 jobs all over the UK. The Higher Education Policy further noted that, International Students spending has become major factor in supporting local economies.
  • Visitors to international students in the UK spent an estimated £520 million – benefitting in particular the transport, hotels, hospitality, cultural, recreational and sports attraction sectors – generating an estimated knock-on impact of £1 billion in gross output

International students also enrich universities and the experience of UK students, both academically and culturally. International students help build strong professional and personal links here that provide long-term, 'soft power' benefits for the UK.

Unfortunately, with the huge fees or other expenditures incurred by international students they are still not included in opportunities created by the University. International Students are charged higher tuition fees but received lesser supports from the University.


As International students, we urge you to stand with us and vote YES!