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Question     Identify implicit assumptions in this article and explain their significance (2-4 sentences).


Foreign students ‘disproportionately impoverished’ by pandemic

10 August 2020

Covid-19 has made a bad situation worse for many international students contending with the expensive rental accommodation markets of Australia’s two biggest cities, according to a report.

Surveys before and during the pandemic suggest that the crisis has left many foreign students in Sydney and Melbourne lonelier, hungrier and clinging to an increasingly tenuous existence.

The study, led by University of Technology Sydney (UTS) urban studies professor Alan Morris, found that the proportion of international students grappling with “precarious” housing and financial circumstances had increased substantially since lockdowns were imposed in March.

“Some international students are well supported by family or scholarships, and others are managing their costs,” he said. “However, a substantial share [are] struggling in the private rental market, and the pandemic has significantly worsened the situation.

“A very large share – six in 10 respondents – reported they had lost their paid employment subsequent to the lockdown, and only 15 per cent reported finding a new job. The indications are that the employment and earnings impact of Covid-19 on international students has been far greater than for the rest of the working population.”

Respondents have lost 23 per cent of their income, on average, since the pandemic hit. One-fifth have moved to save money, one-third regularly skip meals, and more than one-half regularly worry about meeting the rent.

Eight per cent have been threatened with expulsion from their accommodation despite a moratorium on evictions during the pandemic.

Students have largely relied on friends and family for help, although almost half have appealed for assistance from their universities or colleges. Support from educational institutions ranged from reduced or waived tuition fees to emergency accommodation, hardship grants and counselling.

Professor Morris said the findings did not augur well for Australia’s reputation when borders eventually reopened. Half the respondents said their experience would make them less likely to recommend Australia as a place to study in the future. Only one-quarter said they were happy with Australia’s treatment of international students during the crisis.

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