EU students in the UK after Brexit

January 30, 2021

As everyone is probably aware at this point, Brexit means a lot of changes in various sectors. One that will be hit significantly is Education – the future of EU nationals wanting to study in the UK, including Polish students.

The first question usually is: what should the EU students already studying in the UK do now? Anyone (including students) who moved in to the UK before the 31 st of December 2020 can and should apply to the EU Settlement Scheme for either pre-settled status (if they’ve lived in the UK for less than 5 years) or settled status (if they’ve lived in the UK for over 5 years). Applications to the scheme are open until the 30 th of June 2021 – getting the status is vital for EU students to be able to stay in the UK and continue studying, working, accessing benefits and living in the UK as they have been so far.

Another frequently asked question is: what about the EU students who would like to start a university experience in the UK after the 31 st of December 2020 and are not in the UK yet?

Anyone who moved in to the UK after the 31 st of December 2020 is not eligible for the EU Settlement Scheme. Therefore, such students are highly likely to be obliged to apply for a UK study visa, however every individual has to check it themselves on the government website.

A crucial aspect of studies at British universities is funding. The official government statement is that students whose courses start on or after the 1 st of August 2021 won’t be eligible for a loan from Student Finance covering the tuition fees unless they benefit from a ‘home student’ status – which every individual also has to check on the government website.

Will the fees stay the same for new EU students despite the lack of loans? Unfortunately, EU students starting their courses on or after the 1 st of August 2021 won’t be eligible for the ‘home fee’ status anymore. Instead, each university will set its own fees for EU students which are likely to be much higher than the ‘home fees’. That’s why to those who are planning to start a course in the UK after that date, either undergraduate or postgraduate: they need to check their university’s website to find out what their fees would be.

Also, in terms of staying in the UK after finishing your degree, all international students will be able to apply for the new British Graduate Route to stay in the country for two further years (or three years after completing a PhD) to gain some work experience. However, those who get the pre-settled or settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme will have the right to live and work in the UK as a part of the status anyway.

These are only a few of probably many questions going through the head of any potential EU student wanting to study in the UK. Here are links for more information and hopefully answers to more questions:

Guidance on the UK government website.

Up-to-date information on the UK Council for International Student Affairs website.

Student funding eligibility (England)

Student Finance Scotland

Student Finance Wales

Student Finance Northern Ireland

Author: Wiktoria Lewandowska

Pictures: Pixabay



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