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UK confirms funding and fees for EU commencements in 2019/20

Short on time? Here are the highlights:

  • The British government has announced that EU students beginning their studies in 2019/20 will continue to be charged the same tuition fees as UK students, and will also remain eligible for financial aid, for the duration of their studies
  • This means that EU nationals will remain eligible for the same student loans and tuition rates as domestic students, even after the UK leaves the European Union in March 2019

For the third consecutive year – following similar announcements for 2017/18 and 2018/19 – the British government has confirmed that European Union students will remain eligible for student loans and “home fee status” through 2019/20. This means that EU students will continue to have access to the same financial supports and tuition rates as domestic students in the UK. The policy applies for the duration of studies for any students commencing in the 2019/20 academic year, meaning that EU students will continue their programmes with greater financial certainty even after the UK leaves the European Union on 29 March 2019.

Education Secretary for England Damian Hinds made the announcement on 2 July, the same day that the Welsh Education Secretary Kirsty Williams offered similar assurances for EU nationals planning to study in Wales. (Scotland had set its policy, also guaranteeing funding and tuition rates for 2019/20 commencements, some five months earlier.)

“Students from the EU make an important contribution to the universities sector and it is a testament to our system that so many students from abroad choose to come and study here,” said Mr Hinds this week. “Today we are providing clarity and certainty on their fees for the duration of their courses.”

The decision comes amid mounting pressure from British educators and student groups that had urged the government to remove any uncertainty for visiting EU students. As recently as 14 June, Universities UK pointed out in an official statement that, “Although universities are already receiving enquiries from EU students about courses starting next year…most EU students and universities are still in the dark about the fee status and financial support for EU students.”

The urgency of the situation derives in part from the fact that there are currently more than 130,000 EU nationals enrolled in UK universities. This amounts to a little more than 30% of all international students in British higher education that come from other EU member states.

In the wake of the announcements this week, Universities UK Chief Executive Alistair Jarvis said, “This announcement on fees and financial support provides much needed clarity for EU students and for universities…[It] means that EU students commencing courses in autumn 2019 will continue to pay the same tuition fees as UK students for the full duration of their courses.”

Russell Group Chief Executive Dr Tim Bradshaw added, “Today’s announcement could not have come a moment too soon. Applications open in a just a few months and many prospective students are already attending open days and making their decisions. Russell Group universities receive over 100,000 applications from EU students each year. They enrich campus life and provide a welcome boost to the UK economy.”

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