European Union students applying for university places in the 2017 to 2018 academic year will still have access to student funding support.
The government has today (11 October 2016) announced that EU students applying for a place at an English university or further education institution in the 2017 to 2018 academic year will continue to be eligible for student loans and grants - and will be for the duration of their course.
The decision will mean that students applying to study from 2017 to 2018 will not only be eligible for the same funding and support as they are now, but that their eligibility will continue throughout their course, even if the UK exits the European Union during that period.
The move will help give universities and colleges certainty over future funding, while assuring prospective students applying to study at one of the UK’s world leading universities that they will not have the terms of their funding changed if the UK leaves the EU during their studies. The same assurance will be available for EU students studying in further education.
Today’s announcement follows assurances given by the government in June shortly after the EU referendum result. This included immediate guarantees that students currently in higher or further education, and those applying for a place this year (2016 to 2017) would continue to be able to access student funding support - including loans and grants - under the current eligibility criteria.
Universities Minister Jo Johnson said:
“We know that the result of the referendum brought with it some uncertainties for our higher education sector. That is why in June we acted quickly to provide immediate funding guarantees for existing students and those applying to study this year.
“International students make an important contribution to our world-class universities, and we want that to continue. This latest assurance that students applying to study next year will not only be eligible to apply for student funding under current terms, but will have their eligibility maintained throughout the duration of their course, will provide important stability for both universities and students.
“We are also taking steps, through our Higher Education Bill, to maintain the world status of our universities while delivering students value for money and choice and employers the skills they need to help our economy grow.”
Under current student finance rules, EU students are eligible to receive undergraduate tuition fee loans if they have resided in the European Economic Area for at least 3 years prior to study. EU nationals who have resided in the UK for over 5 years, are also able to apply for undergraduate maintenance support and master’s loans. Similarly, under EU law, EU students are also eligible for home fee status - which means they are charged the same tuition fees as UK students. Other, non-EU, international students do not have their tuition fees capped in this way.
Today’s confirmation will mean that for EU nationals, or their family members, who are applying for a place at university from August 2017 to study a course that attracts student support, the current funding rules will remain unchanged. All applicants will be eligible for student loans and/or grants under the current terms and, if deemed eligible, will be able to receive those for the duration of their course.
The migration status of EU nationals in the UK is being discussed as part of wider discussions with the EU as the government works on reaching an agreement protecting the status of EU nationals here and our citizens in Europe.
A message to current and prospective international students studying in the UK
The result of the United Kingdom referendum on EU membership has no implications for international students pursuing education in the UK, including those who are currently studying in the UK. The UK has always been and continues to welcome high quality international students - there is no cap on the number of international students who can study here.
There are currently over 500,000 international students from over 80 countries studying in the UK. These students contribute immeasurably to the diversity and intellectual vitality of UK education, making a critical contribution to UK research capacity and standing in the globalised knowledge economy.
Further information for EU students
The EU referendum result does not have any immediate implications for EU students’ immigration status, fee status and access to tuition fee loans.
As noted by the UK Government: ‘there will be no immediate changes following the EU Referendum, including in the circumstances of British citizens living in the EU, and European citizens living here. This includes those studying or working at UK universities. For students, visitors, businesses and entrepreneurs who are already in the UK or who wish to come here, there will be no immediate change to our visa policies.’
Students Loan Company (SLC)
The UK’s Students Loan Company (SLC) issued a statement to reassure EU nationals currently attending English universities who are in receipt of student loans from the SLC, or who intend to begin studying from this autumn, will continue to receive these loans and grants until they finish their course.