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UK: Fees and grants for EU students to remain the same – minister

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May and President of the European Parliament Antonio Tajani. Pic: Reuters/Toby Melville

EU nationals at English universities or higher education institutions will continue paying the same fees as local students as well as remain eligible for loans and grants, the UK government announced last Friday.

The situation on fees and grants will remain the same regardless of whether these students’ courses finish after the UK’s exit from the European Union – putting to rest some of the doubts many have had on EU students’ status since Brexit.

“We have been clear about our commitment to the UK’s world-class higher education sector,” Minister for Universities and Science Jo Johnson said, as reported by The PIE News.

“This will provide reassurance to the brightest minds from across Europe to continue applying to study in the UK, safe in the knowledge financial assistance is available if needed.”

EU students will still be eligible for Research Council PhD studentships at UK institutions in 2018/19, the Minister confirmed.

Higher education stakeholders say the news brings confidence to prospective EU nationals thinking of heading to the UK to pursue their studies. And while this is a step forward, they are still waiting for more details to be made certain by the government, such as immigration policies.

“This announcement gives EU students the certainty they need when considering studying in the UK as well as giving our universities clarity to plan ahead,” Dr Tim Bradshaw, acting director of the Russell Group of top research universities said to the BBC.

Universities UK’s deputy chief executive, Alistair Jarvis says the good news should now be “communicated effectively” to prospective EU students.

He also hopes for “a new post-Brexit immigration policy that encourages all international students to choose to study in the UK coupled”, saying these students from abroad bring “hugely positive” socio-economic impact to the UK.

Whereas Pam Tatlow, chief executive of MillionPlus (the Association for Modern Universities) are asking for the government to extend their reassurances beyond the next academic year, given the timeline expected for Brexit – as of now, Brexit negotiations between UK and the bloc are expected to end in 2019, followed by a transition agreement.

“… we would have liked to see the government give the same assurances to those students starting courses in 2019/20 as well.”

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