The English Ministry of Universities has formally announced that students coming from the EU, EEA, or Switzerland will no longer be allowed to receive home fee status of government-subsidized financial aid for tuition.
“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,” said English Minister of Universities Michelle Donelan.
Another bit of bad news, however, is that it will not just affect regular university students; it will also affect apprentices and people over the age of 19.
“This change will also apply to Further Education funding for those aged 19+, and funding for apprenticeships,” Donelan added.
This could end up hurting universities in England, and some are saying that it will generally be seen as negative by institutions of higher education there.
HEPI has previously found that more fees and less access to student loans and financial aid could mean that there is a risk of England losing up to 60% of their student enrollment base from the EU.
But, it’s not all bad. The 2020/2021 academic year will still see the same rules that we’re used to when coming to England to study as an EU/EEA national. That means that you’ll still be able to receive the same financial aid for your education in the country for the upcoming academic year because the action will not take effect until August 2021.
“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,” Director of the Higher Education Policy Institute Nick Hillman said.
However, Hillman still did not seem completely onboard with the decision.
“If that happens, our universities will be less diverse and less open to influences from other countries,” Hillman said.
Hillman also made it clear that the decision is still somewhat in-line with Brexit as a whole, but that it needs to be clear that English universities are still open for all.
“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,” Hillman said. He added, “above all, we need to make it abundantly clear to people from the EU and beyond that our universities remain open to all.”
One more bit of good news is that while England has formally announced that their aid to EU students will end next year, we still have not heard a final decision from Northern Ireland, Scotland, or Wales.
“We are finalizing 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.
“We are reviewing our policy for future years in light of the UK government’s announcement,” a Welsh Government spokesperson said.
This means that there might still be hope that EU students can still go to study in other parts of the UK and receive the same benefits as UK citizens, even though England itself will be off-the-table after next year.
Only time will tell what will end up happening in the UK for students coming from the EU.