UK government urged to reassure EU students

The President of Universities UK has called on the UK government to take ‘swift and positive action’ to provide reassurance to EU students considering applying to study in the UK next year.

Dame Julia Goodfellow said that urgent reassurance was necessary to persuade potential EU-based students that they will pay the same fees and have access to the same financial support arrangements for the duration of their courses.

She said that reassurances were needed to “prevent a likely sudden decline in EU student applications” across the UK. More than 125,000 EU students are currently studying at UK universities, making up 5 per cent of the entire student population.

Following the Brexit referendum result in June, there were statements from across all UK nations confirming that current EU students and those starting courses this autumn (2016–17) will be eligible to receive loans and grants to fund their studies for the duration of their courses. There has, however, been no clarification on EU students applying to study from next year (2017-18). The situation has now become urgent as the UCAS process for accepting applications for 2017 opened on 6th September.

“Put simply, universities are currently unable to answer two crucial questions that are being frequently asked by prospective EU students considering whether to apply for to start courses in the UK in autumn 2017,” said Dame Julia Goodfellow, who is also Vice-Chancellor of the University of Kent. “What fees will you charge for any years of my course which are post the date of exit? Will I be able to access any financial support?”

She continued: “This issue is urgent. UCAS applications opened recently for the 2017-18 intake and EU students are almost twice as likely as UK students to apply very early for those courses with October deadlines. I urge Government to take swift and positive action to address uncertainty, prevent a likely sudden decline in EU student applications and provide much needed reassurance to prospective EU students and universities across the UK.”

Article published 15th September 2016