Comments from ECOs/ECMs on what they would find useful in Student Offer Letters


Duration of courses:

1.      The exact start date of the course – is there a date after which an applicant will not be accepted on a course?

2.      When the course actually finishes – in order to ensure we give the correct length of leave rather than simply assuming it is a normal academic year.

3.      Masters Courses – some institutions already add the additional four months and ECOs will grant a further four months on top of this. Once again, the exact course start and end dates are important, together with an estimate of what constitutes a reasonable amount of finishing time, e.g. for dissertations/thesis.


1.      Details of the cost of the cost

2.      Have the course fees been paid? How?

3.      Is any of the fee refundable if applicant cancels or cannot attend for some reason?

4.      Is the student paying overseas student fees and not home fees?

Course details: to be clear and concise in all the information provided

1.      Course name/title

2.      Duration of course

3.      Number of hours to be studied per week

4.      Structure of course

5.      What type of institution is offering the course? E.g. HE or FE

Qualifications to be gained:

1.      Exact details of the what qualification the applicant is to achieve

2.      For English language courses – what level is to be studied and what level is too be achieved

3.      Confirmation of level of award

4.      Clarity between where the applicant is actually studying and who is awarding the qualification

Condition of offer:

1.      Whether the course is ‘conditional’ or ‘unconditional’

2.      Where an ‘unconditional’ offer is attached there should be no conditions attached. E.g. on several occasions ECOs will see ‘unconditional’ offer with a condition attached to complete/pass an English course.

3.      Clear conditions of entry


1.      Has accommodation been arranged and paid for

Previous Qualifications:

1.      What qualifications were required in order to be offered a place on the course

2.      What evidence was seen by the institution of applicant’s academic qualifications, have any verification checks been made?

3.      What studies the applicant has already undertaken


1.      Sandwich Courses or English courses with work part of the course – ECOs would like to see the exact structure of the course, how much is study and how much is work.

2.      Possibly comment on the applicant’s study plans/progression.

3.      Use of safeguards in offer letters so that they are less likely to be forged.

4.      Details of the selection process used – has the student been interviewed/is the institution aware of what qualifications are held by the applicant.

5.      All the relevant information to be provided in one offer letter.