Gap years ditched as students avoid fee hike

Recent statistics unveiled by leading travel essentials provider Essential Travel shows less backpackers are set to travel following last year’s announcement of impending student fees.

Director of Essential Travel Stuart Bensusan comments: “Students who take a gap year will not be exempt from escalating university fees and all indications are that backpackers are certainly travelling less, with those that can still afford to travel perhaps skipping insurance as a way to save money.”

“Deciding to take the risk and travel without insurance may seem an easy way to economise and we’ve seen fewer backpackers take out policies, but it’s an expensive business should they need to claim.”

“Backpackers tend to embark on activities such as bungee jumping, diving and sky diving which are obviously higher risk than your average package holiday so if anyone ought to have a decent insurance policy its independent travellers.

“Having insurance helps with medical assistance, replacing lost luggage – even more important when your whole life is on your back.

“When creating a travel budget, young people should always include travel insurance so they can truly enjoy their experience and ensure they select a policy that covers all activities they intend to embark on.”’s Backpacker Travel Insurance starts from £110.89 per person for twelve months and is, on average, 44% per cent cheaper than the company’s competitors.

For further information visit or call 0845 803 5434.

Student visa requirements change to stop abuse and shrink migration

Damian Green today explained reforms the government is making to the student visa system to stop abuse and bring net migration down to sustainable levels.

These reforms include an announcement last month that the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) and the Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI) will inspect and review educational standards in private institutions which are offering further education.

Speaking at the QAA’s educational oversight conference, the minister said that it was the primary motivation of too many so-called students to come to the UK in order to work, rather than study, and that too many institutions were providing an immigration service rather than an educational one.

Legitimate students only

Mr Green said: ‘Abuse of the student visa system has gone on for too long. Students should come to the UK to study, not to work or settle.  We want legitimate students only, to study at legitimate colleges and universities.

‘QAA has an excellent reputation protecting the standards of the UK higher education system and I am pleased they are providing their expertise to support our efforts to ensure only high quality institutions can sponsor students to come to the UK.’

Explaining that it was now only those institutions with the best track record that would be able to recruit and retain legitimate students, the minister went on to highlight other changes to the student route.

These include:

  • students coming to study degree-level courses must be able to prove they can speak English at an upper intermediate level, and others studying below degree-level will have to speak English at an intermediate level
  • students at universities and publicly funded further education colleges will retain current work rights but all other students will have no right to work
  • there will be more rigorous checks to ensure that the funds students are using to support themselves are invested in – and available from – a trustworthy financial institution
  • only postgraduate students at universities and government sponsored students to be will be able to bring their family members with them