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Ripped UK flag and EU stars on wall

 by Mark Bennett
, posted on 11 Oct '16

Brexit Update: UK Confirms Funding for EU Students in 2017-18

Update This post refers to guarantees put in place in 2016, for EU students starting a UK degree in 2017-18. Those arrangements still apply. However, new guarantees have also been made for courses beginning in 2018-19.

There's been some encouraging news for EU students this October as all parts of the UK confirm their continued access to fee and finance arrangements next year.

This news is particularly welcome - coming off the back of a conservative party conference during which the Prime Minister announced that Brexit would begin as soon as March 2017 and the Home Secretary questioned the future of international student visas.

We now know that nothing is changing for EU students across the UK in 2017-18 :

The Minister for Universities and Science, Jo Johnson, has released a full statement confirming the following:

  • EU students will be able to begin a degree in the UK during the 2017-18 academic year.
  • They should be charged the same fees as a domestic (UK) student and be entitled to apply for the same public finance and funding.
  • This includes the new £10,000 Masters loans available to EU students in England.
  • Eligibility to pay domestic fees and receive loans should continue for the duration of a student's course, even if the UK leaves the EU in the meantime.
  • This applies to degree courses at all levels, including postgraduate programmes.

So, if you're considering a Masters or PhD in the UK next year - go for it! Or, if you have any more specific questions, check out our FAQ below.

Other UK countries have also offered their own reassurances with Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland all having confirmed that nothing's changing for EU students in 2017-18.

We'll be keeping an eye on any future developments and will make sure our newsletter is the first place to find out about them.

Brexit - an FAQ for postgraduates

We last updated on Brexit after the referendum in June. Quite a bit's changed since then. The following FAQ covers what we know at the moment:

So, I'm an EU student planning on starting a Masters in the UK next year, can I?

Yes. You'll still be able to begin a course in the UK in 2017-18 and you won't need a visa.

You should also be eligible for the same fee and funding arrangements as you would be now - that includes the £10,000 Masters loans.

What about a PhD?

Similar guarantees apply. You'll be able to begin a doctorate in the UK next year as normal. However, funding for EU students is slightly more complicated at PhD level.

The government statements so far refer primarily to student finance such as loans and grants for which EU students aren't eligible (PhD loans are being introduced in 2018, but have only been announced for English students).

It's not yet clear what the situation will be for PhD funding from the UK Research Councils. Currently, EU students can normally apply for fee-only awards and will be able to do so as normal in 2017-18. Where an award has been granted it should apply for the duration of your PhD, but further confirmation of this is awaited.

What if I'm still studying when the UK leaves the EU?

It shouldn't matter. The government has confirmed that anyone who begins a degree in 2017-18 will be able to complete their course as normal. This means that you should pay the same fees and be eligible for ongoing funding and support throughout your course.

Does this apply across the UK?

Yes. As of 26th October 2016 all parts of the UK have offered assurances for EU students in 2017-18.

We'll be updating this post with any further announcements.

What will happen after 2017-18?

The Prime Minister has announced that Brexit will begin in March 2017. Most expect the process of leaving the EU to take two years. If so this means that the UK will probably leave the EU during 2019.

Students who are still studying a degree at that point will be fine. But it's not clear what the situation will be for anyone starting a Masters or PhD in 2018-19 - or what status EU students will have once Britain has left the EU.

We'll provide further updates on this blog and via our newsletter as more information becomes available.

What's happening with Erasmus funding?

The UK participates in Erasmus+ as a programme country. This entitles UK students to apply for a range of funding to study abroad - including exchange programmes, joint degree scholarships and Erasmus+ Masters loans. EU students can apply for the same funding to study in the UK.

Brexit may mean the UK ceases to be a programme country, but this isn't guaranteed. It will depend on the terms of negotiations between the UK and the European Commission (which funds Erasmus+).

In the meantime, the European Commission has confirmed that existing regulations apply to Erasmus+ at least until the UK is no longer an EU member.

What about UK students studying in the EU?

EU membership entitles UK students to study in other member countries without a visa and to benefit from domestic fee arrangements and funding. This can mean actually mean studying for free.

These arrangements should continue to apply for as long as the UK is an EU member. That should include the 2017-18 academic year.

However, EU countries won't necessarily be gauranteeing fee and funding policies for UK students after Brexit. It's probably a good idea to check with your university before applying.

Looking for more information on postgraduate fees and finance across the UK and EU? Check out our funding sections. Our Brexit FAQ also has the latest information for Masters and PhD students.

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