Prospective students from Sri Lanka are being told that their places on courses at the University of Huddersfield are being deferred until 2023/24 because of the “ongoing disruption” in their home country.
Sri Lanka is on the brink of bankruptcy and is now facing its worst economic crisis since independence in 1948, with acute shortages of food, fuel, and other essentials. Inflation in the country is set to reach 40% and the country is quickly running out of necessary supplies.
Since the end of March, people in Sri Lanka have been protesting between pro-government supporters and those calling for an immediate change in authority.
Two weeks ago, the leader of the United National Party, Ranil Wickremesinghe, was sworn in as prime minister after the preceding PM, Mahinda Rajapaksa, resigned from his post which he held since 2019 after violent clashes across the country and a motion of no confidence was declared by opposition leaders at the beginning of the month.
The country has defaulted on a multi-million-pound foreign debt repayment with the Sri Lankan government running out of foreign currency reserves.
The University of Huddersfield has alluded to the fact that the protests and financial problems Sri Lanka is currently facing have meant that current international students from the country are struggling to pay for their living costs as they cannot access money from home, which is why they are deferring prospective students’ places until the next intake in 2023 and 2024.
One student impacted by this is Nimasha Chathurangi who lives in the Western Province of Sri Lanka. She said she received the email about five days ago and that her place was deferred because of the economic situation.
She said: “Yes, I got the emails about five days ago. They clearly mentioned that the current situation in Sri Lanka is the reason my place got deferred. As I know, the University of Huddersfield is the only university doing this. It is a very critical situation.”
Mrs Chathurangi, who is still living in Sri Lanka, studied Sports and Recreation Management at the University of Katunayake and was hoping to continue her education with a postgraduate degree at the university in September.
The email from the University of Huddersfield, said: “As a result of the ongoing disruption in Sri Lanka, our current students are facing significant problems paying for their living costs whilst they study because they cannot access the funds they need from home.
“This is obviously very stressful for them. As a university, we have a responsibility to ensure that minimal numbers of students are in this position.
“We believe deferring your offer until the next intake will be the best decision at this point. I appreciate you might want to decline our offer as a result of this news. If you no longer wish to continue your application with us, please let me know.”
Asian Standard has reached out to the University of Huddersfield for a comment. Check back regularly for an update.