Study Group Case Study Infographic Image. Text on image: Block one – Introduction - Study Group, the leading supplier of international students to Britain’s Higher Education sector, saw its whole business under threat as the UK government started to introduce changes to the international student visa system. Block two – Context - International students contribute billions every year to the UK economy. The UK’s entire international education sector has been destabilised by changes to the visa requirements for international students, which caused many prospective students to favour the US and Australia. Block three – Objectives - Study Group needed to: 1) Raise awareness of the damage these legislation changes would do to the economy 2) Put pressure on government to reverse or reduce the changes 3) Reassure current and prospective international students that the UK remains a safe choice for study 4) Raise its profile as a serious and preferred player in the international education market to current and potential partner universities. Block four – Strategy - Recognising that Study Group’s entire business was under threat, we attacked the issue from multiple angles including: 1) An issues response programme, including opinion articles and case studies to highlight how important international students are to the economy 2) Requests under the Freedom of Information Act to provide the first set of comprehensive data on the number of foreign students in the UK 3) Assembling a group of Vice Chancellors from UK universities to respond to the proposed changes 4) A press conference bringing together all stakeholders in the industry for the first time in history, to present a united front in responding to the proposals. Block five – Results - The campaign achieved: 1) 238 pieces of tier 1 media coverage, 115 in national outlets 2) Front page coverage in the Financial Times 3) #defendstudentvisas trending on Twitter 4) An official response from the Home Office 5) A key politician was spotted carrying one of the articles produced by the campaign into a meeting 6) The Home Affairs Select Committee dropped the most controversial element of the proposed changes (around raising the English language requirement for foreign students). And the Campaign: 1) Won two PR Awards (from the PRCA and the Stevie Awards) 2) Was branded an ‘unqualified success’ by PR Week. Block six – Testimonial - TopLine went to great lengths to understand this very complex issue and ensure that both sides of the story were heard. They made sure we responded with consistent messaging every time the issue was raised in the media…journalists were approaching us for our opinion as we were viewed as thought leaders on the issue. The press conference was timed to perfection. The government has put the international education sector under an exceptional amount of strain…representing a major threat to our own business and the UK’s recovering economy. We really felt TopLine had Study Group’s, and the sector’s best interests at heart throughout the process and they played a major role in securing the immediate future of the UK’s second biggest export sector. - James Pitman, Study Group Managing Director HE, UK and Europe.

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