home fee status
It will be more expensive for EU, EEA and Swiss students to study in the UK next year. Source: Kenzo Tribouillard / AFP

Students from the European Union (EU), European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland will lose their home fee status at UK universities from next year onwards due to Brexit.

Here’s what you should know if you’re from the EU or EEA and plan to study in the UK in 2021 and beyond.

More expensive to study in the UK next year

Since students from these countries will no longer be eligible for home status, they will have to pay higher fees to study at UK colleges and universities.

Universities in England can only charge a maximum of 9,250 pounds per year for an undergraduate degree for home students, while institutions in Wales can charge up to 9,000 pounds.

In comparison, international students pay between 10,000 and 26,000 pounds annually for lecture-based undergraduate degrees.

EU students will also lose access to student loans from the UK government to cover tuition and living costs.

According to Times Higher Education, director of the Higher Education Policy Institute Nick Hillman said that higher fees and loss of access to student loans could lead to a decline of about 60 percent in the number of EU students coming to the UK for studies.

He said, “If that happens, our universities will be less diverse and less open to influences from other countries.”

“Moreover, history suggests that the education on offer in our universities is something people are willing to pay for … Above all, we need to make it abundantly clear to people from the EU and beyond that our universities remain open to all.”

home fee status

EU students outside the UK will no longer be eligible for student loans offered by the UK government in the 2021-2022 academic year. Source: Oli Scarff/AFP

Students of all levels will lose home fee status

There are no exceptions to the loss of home fee status, as it applies to students from EU, EEA, and Switzerland of all academic levels.

In a written statement, universities minister Michelle Donelan said that the rule applies to all “undergraduate, postgraduate and advanced learner financial support from Student Finance England for courses starting in academic year 2021/22.”

Students enrolled in Autumn 2020 will not be affected

Since the rule only comes into effect for the 2021/22 academic year, those starting courses in autumn 2020 will still be able to pay home fees for the duration of their courses, according to Universities UK. They will continue to be eligible for the UK’s EU settlement scheme if they arrived before the end of this year.

In a statement, UUK said, “Overseas students — from the EU and beyond — should be able to study in the UK with minimal barriers. International students enhance the educational environment in our universities, benefitting all students, and are an integral part of our society and culture.”

Donelan explained that the change will not affect students starting courses in the academic year 2020/21, as well as EU, other EEA and Swiss nationals benefitting from Citizens’ Rights under the EU Withdrawal Agreement, EEA EFTA Separation Agreement or Swiss Citizens’ Rights Agreement respectively.

She added, “It will also not apply to Irish nationals living in the UK and Ireland whose right to study and to access benefits and services will be preserved on a reciprocal basis for UK and Irish nationals under the Common Travel Area arrangement.”

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