European Union students enrolling in English universities in 2018-19 will pay the same tuition fees as UK students and will remain eligible for financial support for the duration of their courses.
The announcement from the Department for Education means that undergraduate and postgraduate EU students will pay home fees and will be able to receive student loans, grants and research council PhD studentships even if their course finishes after the UK’s exit from the EU.
The reassurance comes almost a month after Scotland announced that EU students enrolling in the country in 2018-19 would be guaranteed free tuition for the duration of their courses.
Jo Johnson, the universities and science minister, said: “We have been clear about our commitment to the UK’s world-class higher education sector. Through our modern Industrial Strategy and the additional £4.7 billion committed for research and innovation over the next five years, we are ensuring the UK has the skills and environment it needs to continue leading the way in academia and research.
“A key part of our success is attracting talent from across the globe. This will provide reassurance to the brightest minds from across Europe to continue applying to study in the UK, safe in the knowledge that financial assistance is available if needed.”
Alistair Jarvis, deputy chief executive of Universities UK, welcomed the announcement, saying that it is vital to ensure that it is “communicated effectively to prospective students across Europe”.
He added that the higher education sector now needs 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”.
The number of applications from EU students to start courses at UK universities in 2017 fell by 7 per cent on the previous year after the Brexit vote, Ucas figures recently showed.