The government must “take swift and positive action” to prevent a “likely sudden decline” in student applications from the rest of the European Union, according to the president of Universities UK.
Dame Julia Goodfellow, the University of Kent vice-chancellor, will address the uncertainty caused for EU students and universities by the Brexit vote in her speech at the UUK conference today, being held at Nottingham Trent University.
She urged the UK government to provide reassurance to EU students applying to start courses in 2017 that they will pay the same fees and have access to the same financial support arrangements for the duration of their courses.
Students from EU nations other than the UK are currently charged the same fees as home students in England and have access to the same fee loans from the public-backed Student Loans Company.
More than 125,000 EU students are currently studying at UK universities, making up 5 per cent of the entire student population, according to UUK.
The government has guaranteed that current EU students and those starting courses this autumn will be eligible to receive loans to fund their studies for the duration of their courses, but UUK is calling for a guarantee on 2017 entry, for which the Ucas process opened yesterday.
Dame Julia said: “Put simply, universities are currently unable to answer two crucial questions that are being frequently asked by prospective EU students considering whether to apply for to start courses in the UK in autumn 2017. What fees will you charge for any years of my course which are post the date of exit? Will I be able to access any financial support?
She added: “This issue is urgent. Ucas applications opened yesterday for the 2017-18 intake and EU students are almost twice as likely as UK students to apply very early for those courses with October deadlines.
“I urge government to take swift and positive action to address uncertainty, prevent a likely sudden decline in EU student applications and provide much needed reassurance to prospective EU students and universities across the UK.”