EU students still able to access UK funding for universities

by Ray Clancy on May 15, 2017

Students from the European Union will still be eligible for financial support if they are applying for a university course beginning in the 2018/2019 academic year even although it finishes after Brexit.

The British Government has confirmed that EU students will continue to remain eligible for undergraduate, master’s, postgraduate and advanced learner financial support.

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Under current student finance rules, EU students are eligible to receive undergraduate tuition fee loans and master’s loans if they have resided in the European Economic Area for at least three years prior to study. EU nationals who have resided in the UK for over five years are also able to apply for undergraduate maintenance support.

The confirmation means that EU students applying for an undergraduate or master’s course at an English university or further education institution in the 2018 to 2019 academic year will continue to have access to student loans and grants, even if the course concludes after the UK’s exit from the EU.

EU students are eligible for home fee status, which means they are charged the same tuition fees as UK students. Other international students do not have their tuition fees capped in this way.

EU nationals will also remain eligible to apply for Research Council PhD studentships at UK institutions for 2018 to 2019 to help cover costs for the duration of their study.

‘We have been clear about our commitment to the UK’s world class higher education sector. Through our modern industrial strategy and the additional £4.7 billion committed for research and innovation over the next five years, we are ensuring the UK has the skills and environment it needs to continue leading the way in academia and research,’ said Universities and Science Minister Jo Johnson.

‘A key part of our success is attracting talent from across the globe. This will provide reassurance to the brightest minds from across Europe to continue applying to study in the UK, safe in the knowledge financial assistance is available if needed,’ he added.

The decision has been welcomed by Universities UK, which represents universities, saying it provides much needed clarity for EU students applying to start courses as universities have already begun to receive enquiries from prospective students for the 2018/2019 intake.

‘It is good to see that the government has recognised the value of EU students and guaranteed their access to financial support and home fee status across undergraduate and postgraduate levels,’ said Alistair Jarvis, Universities UK deputy chief executive.

‘Students from EU countries can now apply for places on undergraduate courses starting in autumn 2018 with the confidence that they will not have to pay upfront tuition fees and will remain eligible to receive Government backed loans to cover their tuition fee for the duration of their courses,’ he pointed out.

‘This announcement also means that EU students commencing courses in autumn 2018 will continue to pay the same tuition fees as UK students for the full duration of their courses, even those years past the point the UK exits the EU,’ he added.

Looking ahead, Jarvis said that students from Europe will need to be encouraged to continue to see the UK as a place to study. ‘We need to see a new post-Brexit immigration policy that encourages all international students to choose to study in the UK coupled with welcoming messages from Government, recognising their hugely positive social and economic impact on the UK,’ he concluded.

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