European Union students enrolling in English universities in 2020-21 will pay the same tuition fees as UK students and remain eligible for financial support for the duration of their courses, the universities minister has announced.
Chris Skidmore said that EU students starting courses in 2020-21 would remain eligible for undergraduate and postgraduate financial support, regardless of whether a deal for the UK leaving was in place or not.
Last month, Universities UK urged the government to confirm the rates for EU students starting courses in autumn 2020, saying that institutions needed at least “18 months’ notice of any change” in fee status.
Speaking in Brussels on 28 May, Mr Skidmore said that while the UK had chosen to leave the EU “we are not leaving Europe and our universities thrive on the diversity of being global institutions”.
“We know that students will be considering their university options for next year already, which is why we are confirming now that eligible EU nationals will continue to benefit from home fee status and can access financial support for the 20-21 academic year, so they have the certainty they need to make their choice,” he said.
The Department for Education said that work to determine the future fee status for new EU students after the 2020-21 academic year was “ongoing as the government prepares for a smooth and orderly exit from the EU as soon as possible”. It claimed that it would provide sufficient notice for prospective EU students.
Last month it was reported that the government planned to scrap home fee status for EU students starting courses in the 2021-22 academic year – a proposal that Labour MP and former higher education minister David Lammy said would be “awful news for our universities”.
Jess Cole, director of policy at the Russell Group, said that clarity over EU students’ fee status was “critical, especially in light of the continuing uncertainty over Brexit”.
“To reassure these students further, the government should guarantee their migration rights for the duration of their studies. Students starting courses in 2020-21 should be eligible for the EU settlement scheme regardless of whether the UK leaves the EU without a deal,” she added.
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