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What has changed for international students since Brexit?

For students living in the EU and wishing to study in the UK, Brexit has led to a range of changes in tuition fees and study abroad opportunities

    Seeta Bhardwa's avatar

    Seeta Bhardwa

    Editor, THE Student
    January 28 2022
    Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament in London


    The UK officially left the European Union in January 2020, and this has meant a range of changes for students from the EU wishing to study in the UK. From tuition fees to health insurance to study abroad opportunities, Brexit has affected a variety of different things for European students.

    It’s important to note that in most cases, Brexit hasn’t affected tuition fees and funding for international students from outside the EU/European Economic Area at this point in time, unless stated otherwise.

    Tuition fees

    From 1 August 2021, students coming from the EU/EEA will no longer be eligible for home fee status. This means that instead of paying the £9,250 a year that UK domestic students pay for tuition fees, EU/EEA students will have to pay international student fees. The amount will usually depend on the university and the course that you apply to, but it can be between £10,000 and £30,000 a year for an undergraduate degree.

    Master’s and postgraduate tuition fees for international students are on average about £11,000 a year. They could be as low as £8,000 but may also be as high as £30,000 depending on the university and course you apply for.

    Tuition fees for students from outside the EU/EEA have not been affected by Brexit.

    Student funding

    Brexit has also meant that EU/EEA students are no longer able to apply for a student loan in the UK. This means that they cannot apply for a tuition fee or maintenance loan from the UK Student Loans Company.

    There may be other funding options, such as scholarships for international students or hardship funds at your prospective university, that you may be able to apply for. Always speak to your prospective university to find out what options you have, or consider exploring various government scholarships such as Chevening or GREAT scholarships.

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    Student visas 

    Students from the EU are no longer allowed to enter the UK under the EU Settlement Scheme. If you were living in the UK before 31 December 2020, you are still able to enter the UK under the scheme.

    The deadline for applying to the EU Settlement Scheme was 30 June 2021 for most people, however you may still be able to apply if you are joining family in the UK, or if you were unable to apply before the deadline under “reasonable grounds”.

    Similarly to other international students, EU/EEA students now must apply for a student visa in order to study in the UK.

    It costs £358 to apply for a visa from outside the UK, and £475 to extend or switch to a student visa from inside the UK.

    You do not need a visa to study in the UK for courses up to six months, as long as you are studying at an accredited institution. This includes English language courses.

    You are also eligible to apply for a short-term study visa if you’re studying on an English language course that lasts up to 11 months.


    EU students arriving in the UK after January 2021 will have to pay an Immigration Health Surcharge. Students who bring family with them will need to pay the surcharge for each family member.

    The amount that each student will have to pay will depend on the length of their visa.

    Study abroad

    Leaving the EU has also meant that the UK has withdrawn from the Erasmus+ programme. The Erasmus+ programme enabled students from all over Europe to study abroad at another university, either for a semester or for an entire year. Universities set up partnerships with each other to enable this.

    The UK has instead set up its own global exchange scheme known as the Turing Scheme. The Turing Scheme aims to enable student exchanges across the world, not just across Europe.

    The Turing scheme will provide funding for 35,000 students a year at UK universities, colleges and schools, providing them with small grants towards travel and living costs, but not tuition fees. Those on the scheme will be able to study abroad or go on a work placement.

    Students in Northern Ireland will be able to continue to participate in the Erasmus+ programme.

    Applications for the Turing Scheme opened in September 2021.

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