When the UK voted to leave the EU on June 23rd 2016, it opened up a huge amount of concern amongst students in relation to continuing their education in the country.

The UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) reported at the beginning of the year, that 81% of students studying in HE in the UK are from the UK. 6% are from the rest of the EU and 14% are from the rest of the world.

This may sound like a relatively small number but it still means 124,575 EU students gained full and part-time qualifications in the UK in 2014-2015.

As members of the EU overseas students have the right to reside and study in the UK. They don’t currently need visas to study here and are able to apply for similar loans as native students. They can also pay the same £9,000 course fees.

With Brexit moving full steam ahead many will be wondering where they stand on studying across the United Kingdom. The good news, for now, is that nothing will change. In the short-term students from EU countries will be able to continue with their studies, unaffected.

The funding bodies in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland all confirmed last year that EU students would be eligible for loans.

UKCISA reported the following had been confirmed for EU students:

– currently on courses and receiving student finance will continue to be eligible for student finance for the duration of their study on that course; and

– commencing university study on an eligible course in Autumn 2016 will also be eligible for student finance in the normal way and, furthermore, will continue to be eligible for student finance for the duration of their study on that course.

The funding bodies in England, Scotland and Wales also confirmed that students from the EU would have funding for university places in the 2017 to 2018 academic year. The UK government made the following statement:

“The government has today (11 October 2016) announced that EU students applying for a place at an English university or further education institution in the 2017 to 2018 academic year will continue to be eligible for student loans and grants – and will be for the duration of their course.

The decision will mean that students applying to study from 2017 to 2018 will not only be eligible for the same funding and support as they are now, but that their eligibility will continue throughout their course, even if the UK exits the European Union during that period.”

As well loans, EU students have the benefit of paying the same fees as native students – this is called ‘Home fee status’ for the duration of their study. It has again been confirmed that those who begin studying in England in 2017/18 will still be eligible for this status.

This is indeed a big deal. In the UK tuition fees for international students (Non-EU) can range from £10,000 up to £35,000, for top level medical degrees. Keeping the status quo for now can only encourage students to study overseas.

UKCISA encourage students to discuss their concerns with the institutions to whom they are applying. Some universities have already listed Q&As on their websites concerning the changes. See here for Oxford University, here for Bristol and here for University of Edinburgh.

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