Post-Brexit, studying in the UK is more difficult for Europeans
Among the many changes after Brexit, studying in the UK now requires visas, triple tuition, and the end of Erasmus cooperation.
Some of the most unfortunate changes with Brexit affect the opportunity of EU students to attend university in the UK. Study visas and triple tuition rates can now make a UK degree out of reach for many. Here are the details on fees, immigration and Erasmus+.
While arrangements for EU students remained the same during last year’s transition period, as of 1 January 2021, there are changes for EU students who wish to study in the UK. It is important to note that these changes do not apply to Irish citizens, as their right to study and benefits is preserved under the Common Travel Area (CTA) arrangements. References to ‘EU students’ therefore exclude Irish citizens.
There is a range of scenarios for EU students, depending on when they arrive in the UK and the academic year that their course starts.
EU students who:
1. Started a full degree course in 2020-21 and arrived in the UK before 31 December 2020 are eligible for home fee status in all nations and the tuition fee loan in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland. They are also eligible to apply for the UK’s EU Settlement Scheme, allowing them to continue studying in the UK without a visa after the transition period has ended and remain in the UK after studying, provided they have applied by 30 June 2021.
2. Started a full degree course in 2020-21 and arrived in the UK after 31 December 2020 are eligible for home fee status and tuition fee loan but will need to apply for a Student visa through the new Student route. They will also be eligible to apply for the Graduate route.
3. Will be starting a full degree course in 2021-22, arriving in the UK after 31 December 2020 will not be eligible for home fee status or tuition fee loans in England, Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland. They will need to apply for a Student visa through the new Student route. They will be eligible to apply for the Graduate route.
Those with pre-settled or settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme and who have 3 years’ residence in the UK, EEA, or Switzerland will be eligible for home fee status and tuition fee loan in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
EU student fees
EU students who started a course in the UK during the 2020-21 academic year are eligible for UK home student fees and financial support, in the form of tuition fee loan in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland. Nothing will change for them throughout their degree.
From the 2021-22 academic year and onwards, EU students not covered by the Withdrawal Agreement who start a course in the UK during the 2021-22 academic year, and thereafter, will no longer be eligible for home fee status and tuition fee loans.
EU nationals already in the UK with settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme, and who meet the relevant eligibility requirements in force at the time of course commencement, will have access to home fee status and student financial support in the 2021-22 academic year.
As a general rule, EU students will be able to study for up to six months in the UK without applying for a visa through the new Visitor route rules.
If arrival in the UK was on or before 31 December 2020, or if the student already lives in the UK, they will not need a visa. However, they should apply for ‘settled’ or ‘pre-settled’ status under the EU Settlement Scheme. They have until 30 June 2021 to make the application.
If arrival in the UK was after 31 December 2020, they will need to apply for a visa under the Student route as part of a new points-based system. Applications are now open and can be submitted up to six months in advance.
Staying after graduation
For students in the UK on or before 31 December 2020, applying for pre-settled status will allow them to continue to travel between the UK and EU without having to apply via the Student route and allow them to stay in the UK for five years. After this they can apply for ‘settled status’ if desired. Once granted settled status, the person is able to remain in the UK indefinitely. If the student has already been in the country for five years, they can apply for settled status straight away.
Students starting courses after 31 December 2020 will have to make an application under the Student route. This allows them to stay in the UK for the duration of the programme. After graduation, they will be eligible to apply for the Graduate route which launches in summer 2021. This allows those who have completed a degree at a UK university with a track record of compliance to stay in the UK for two years (three years for Ph.D. graduates) to work at any skill level after graduation. If they find a suitable job, they can switch to the Work route visa.
The UK will continue to participate fully in Erasmus+ until the end of the current course. This means that EU students can study or work in the UK as part of the current Erasmus+ programme up until the end of the 2020-21 academic year.
From the start of the 2021-22 academic year, the UK will no longer participate in the Erasmus+ programme. The ‘Turing’ scheme will provide opportunities for UK students to study abroad, but EU students will need to make arrangements between individual universities, subject to the immigration and visa requirements set out above.
UK degree recognition
UK degrees are recognised in many countries around the world, and there are several agreements between different countries that support this. While some of these are not related to the European Union, most UK academic qualifications will still be recognised in the EU now that the UK has left.
From 1 January 2021 onwards, a few professional qualifications will need to be recognised by the appropriate regulator for the relevant profession in each country's employment. If prior to 31 December 2020, the qualification has already been recognised by the relevant regulator in the EU, Norway, Switzerland, Iceland, or Liechtenstein, there is nothing further needed. This also applies if the request for recognition was submitted by 31 December 2020.
More information can be found on www.universitiesuk.ac.uk