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EU flag over Union Jack

 by Mark Bennett
, posted on 14 Dec '16

Brexit & EU Postgraduates in 2017 - an Updated FAQ

Looking to begin a Masters or PhD in the UK as an EU student next year? You can. Better yet, you'll pay the same fees and receive the same funding as you would pre-'Brexit'.

Guarantees originally made in October have now been extended to cover Research Council funding for PhDs. This means that doctoral students from the European Union can still receive a studentship starting in 2017.

This FAQ summarises everything we know so far.

Can I study a Masters or PhD in the UK as an EU student next year?

Yes. The UK will still be an EU member in 2017 and students from other European Union countries will be able to study here without a visa next year.

Will I pay higher fees?

You'll pay the same 'domestic' fees as a UK student. You won't pay the higher 'international' rate.

Fees will still vary between courses (the average cost of a UK Masters this year was around £6,486). However, the price you pay will be the same as a UK student on the same course.

Can I apply for a Masters loan?

Yes. EU students are eligible for the UK postgraduate loans introduced in 2016. This will also apply in 2017.

The only restriction on EU eligibility concerns your residency:

  • If you have been ordinarily resident in the UK for three years, most recently in England, you can apply for a loan to study a Masters anywhere in the UK.
  • If you have been ordinarily resident in the EU, EEA or Switzerland for three years, you can apply for a loan to study a Masters in England.

In both cases you must live in the UK, or England. EU students cannot receive a postgraduate loan to live and study outside the UK, by distance learning or other means.

You will continue to receive your postgraduate loan for the normal duration of your course, regardless of when the UK leaves the EU.

Can I apply for Research Council funding?

Yes. A recent announcement has confirmed that Research Council studentships will continue to be available to postgraduate research students from the EU in 2017.

Most Research Council awards are intended for PhD students, but some Masters funding is available. Note that EU students are usually only eligible for fees-only grants.

As with other funding, this support will cover your entire course.

Can I apply for a PhD loan?

No. The new UK PhD loans won't be available in 2017 (they are due to be introduced in the 2018-19 academic year).

Exact eligibility details may change, but so far only UK students resident in England are included.

Can I study part time?

Yes. You won't need a student visa as an EU postgraduate next year. This means there will be no overall restrictions on your mode of study, or the duration of your degree.

Bear in mind that eligibility for funding and support may come with some restrictions. Masters loans, for example, are only available for part-time courses lasting up to four years.

Can I study anywhere in the UK?

Yes. All four UK countries have offered their own guarantees to EU students for the 2017-18 academic year:

These guarantees apply to fees charged and funding offered within each UK country. Specific support systems may still have their own eligibility restrictions.

What happens if Brexit takes place during my course?

Fee and funding guarantees apply for the duration of your degree programme. Provided you start your Masters or PhD in 2017, you will be entitled to student loans and Research Council grants throughout your course - even if the UK leaves the EU in the meantime.

Will I be able to work in the UK after I graduate?

EU citizens currently have the right to live and work in the UK without restriction. This applies to graduates of Masters and PhD programmes along with other jobseekers.

If you complete your degree whilst Britain is still an EU member, you will be able to seek work as normal. However, your ongoing right to work in the UK will depend on the terms of the UK's 'Brexit' negotiations with the European Union. It is not yet clear what these will be.

Guarantees have been offered to EU citizens who are still studying in the UK after Brexit. These don't extend to EU workers, but it's possible that arrangements may be made for those who are already working in the UK and / or recent graduates.

More information will become available in future.

Do guarantees also apply to EEA and Swiss students?

Students the European Economic Area (Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway) share some of the same free-movement rights as those from the EU. The same also applies to students from Switzerland.

Some restrictions apply. EEA and Swiss students must normally be working in the UK, have sought work in the UK. Alternatively, they must have a family member who has worked or sought work in the UK.

Guarantees for EU students in 2017-18 do not specifically refer to EEA and Swiss nationals. More information may be available in future. In the meantime, you should confirm your fee and finance circumstances prior to your course.

We'll be keeping an eye on what Brexit means for EU postgraduates. You can stay updated on this blog and via our regular newsletter.

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