Europeans studying in the UK will continue to remain eligible for grants and loans in 2018-19, the government has announced.

This will remain the case even if their course finishes after the UK’s exit from the European Union, it added.

European students on undergraduate and master’s courses are presently charged the same for tuition as UK students.

Ministers said attracting talent from across the globe was key to success and vice-chancellors welcomed the news.

There has been doubt about the status of EU students in the light of the UK’s departure from the European Union.

The government has already guaranteed the financial support system to those beginning courses in 2017.

World talent

University UK’s deputy chief executive Alistair Jarvis said: “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 up-front tuition fees and will remain eligible to receive government-backed loans to cover their tuition fee for the duration of their courses.

“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.

“It is now vital that this announcement is communicated effectively to prospective students across Europe.”

He added: “Moving forward, 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.”

Dr Tim Bradshaw, acting director of the Russell Group of top research universities, said: “This announcement gives EU students the certainty they need when considering studying in the UK as well as giving our universities clarity to plan ahead.

“EU students make a huge contribution to the dynamism and culture at Russell Group campuses and we look forward to welcoming future students.

“Our universities will always remain open to new ideas and talent from across the world.”

Pam Tatlow, chief executive of MillionPlus, a think tank which represents more modern universities, welcomed the government’s reassurance for students starting in courses in 2018-19

But she added: “With the Brexit negotiations scheduled to conclude in 2019 and a transition arrangement likely to be in place after that point, we would have liked to see the government give the same assurances to those students starting courses in 2019/20 as well.”

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