While Scotland’s University of Aberdeen has announced scholarships for students from European countries, the University of Leicester has become the first UK institution to freeze fees for EU students.

European students beginning studies in the UK before July 2021 are eligible for home fees, as will those with “settled” status going forward, but from 2021/22 students arriving from within the EU will be facing higher fees to study at higher education institutions in England, and further across the UK.

“These scholarships [are] testament to how dearly we hold our long-forged connections”

The incoming government rules mean that EU students will have to pay 50% more than their British counterparts, Leicester highlighted as it announced it would take on the additional cost on behalf of the students next year.

Typical costs for BEng Aerospace Engineering at the university will increase from £9,250 to £21,515, and for BA Business and Management studies tuition would rise from £9,250 to £17,450, it noted.

EU, EEA and Swiss student nationals will not be required to pay increased tuition fees, Leicester said.

Aberdeen has said it will offer EU undergraduate and postgraduate taught masters students beginning in Sept 2021 and January 2022 scholarships of up to £8,000 a year as it “remain[s] committed to building global partnerships and welcoming international students and staff as valuable members of our community”.

The EU Scholarships will be open for the duration of their studies, and are being introduced on a “transitional basis” to help to mitigate the impact of Brexit on students’ opportunities to study at the university.

“The announcement of these new scholarships specifically for EU students is testament to how dearly we hold our long-forged connections with the rest of the continent, and our deep appreciation of the rich cultural diversity that EU students contribute to our community,” said George Boyne, the university’s principal and vice-chancellor.

“When it was founded in 1495, the university looked to Europe for its inspiration. Today around a quarter of our undergraduate students and academics come from the European Union, and we are proud to have one of the highest proportions of EU students in our undergraduate population of any university in the UK,” he added.

“Regardless of the outcome of Brexit, our international outlook will remain as strong as ever.”

Currently 27% of its home fee status undergraduate students are from the EU, Aberdeen added.

UK stakeholders have previously raised concerns that classrooms will be “less diverse” post-Brexit, but the Higher Education Policy Institute suggested that UK institutions could increase income by £185 million with raised tuition fees.

A spokesperson for UUKi said that that universities continue to welcome European students to study in the UK post-Brexit.

“We recognise that EU students are likely to have more questions than ever about studying in the UK and what Brexit means for them and we need to work hard to make sure the UK remains attractive,” they said.

“UUK is working closely with sector organisations, government departments and universities to ensure that EU students have all the information they need to make a decision about studying in the UK.”

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