EU, other EEA and Swiss nationals will no longer be eligible for the same fee status as domestic students, universities minister Michelle Donelan confirmed.
“EU, other EEA and Swiss nationals will no longer be eligible for home fee status”
“Following our decision to leave the EU, EU, other EEA and Swiss nationals will no longer be eligible for home fee status, undergraduate, postgraduate and advanced learner financial support from Student Finance England for courses starting in academic year 2021/22,” she said.
“This change will also apply to Further Education funding for those aged 19+, and funding for apprenticeships.”
While this announcement confirms the question of home fees in England for students from the EU, Scotland and Wales are yet to declare what institutions in the respective countries will charge students.
“We are finalising our position on future support to EU students who start a course from 2021-22 and will make an announcement soon,” a Scottish Government spokesperson said.
As in England and Scotland, EU nationals studying in Wales will be eligible for student support and home fee status in the 2020/21 academic year.
“We are reviewing our policy for future years in light of the UK government’s announcement,” a Welsh Government spokesperson said.
Important to stress that for EU/EEA/Swiss students with a place for this coming September 2020, that your home fee status is still confirmed and is in place for the duration of your entire degree- I secured this commitment as Universities Minister and announced it in May 2019 https://t.co/CIw4EkJzqp
— Chris Skidmore (@CSkidmoreUK) June 23, 2020
Director of the Higher Education Policy Institute Nick Hillman noted the news will be “seen as bad news inside universities”.
Lower fees and access to taxpayer subsidised student loans have lowered the financial obstacles to studying in the UK, he explained.
“My message to any EU citizen wishing to benefit from the current arrangements is that it is not too late to apply for entry in 2020, before the new rules come into force next year,” Hillman said.
HEPI has previously found that higher fees and no more access to student loans could risk a decline of around 60% in the number of EU students coming to the UK to study.
“If that happens, our universities will be less diverse and less open to influences from other countries,” Hillman continued.
“However, it is morally and legally difficult to continue charging lower fees to EU citizens than we already charge to people from the rest of the world once Brexit has taken full effect,” he suggested, adding the decision is not a “huge surprise”.
“Moreover, history suggests that the education on offer in our universities is something people are willing to pay for. So, if we adopt sensible post-Brexit migration rules and if universities work very hard to recruit from other EU nations, it is likely that many of our fellow Europeans will still wish to study here.
“Above all, we need to make it abundantly clear to people from the EU and beyond that our universities remain open to all.’
UK government representatives, including Donelan, wrote to prospective students urging them to consider applying for the 2020/21 academic year.