Student fees for EU students who wished to study in England risks “pulling up the drawbridge” after Brexit, warns higher education leaders and opposition parties, demanding the government to clear up their policy.
According to a report in Buzzfeed, higher fees will soon be imposed on EU students, commencing their courses after the exit of UK. EU Students who will be starting their courses at English universities this autumn were eligible for the provision of student loans and tuition fees, just like English students. However, the Department for Education (DfE) is all set to prepare a higher fee structure for EU students, planning to start their courses as early as 2020.
Nick Hillman, the head of the Higher Education Policy Institute, said: “Ever since the referendum, it’s been highly likely that EU students would come to face the higher fees charged to those from other countries. Morally, it would be exceedingly hard to defend charging richer Germans less than poorer Indians if we are not in the EU. But fee levels are only part of the picture. EU students can currently take out loans with the Student Loans Company to pay their fees and the loans don’t need to be repaid until later on. Losing access to the loans matters as much as the headline fee, because suddenly they will have to find the money upfront.”
Universities UK, the group that represents 140 UK higher education institutions, advised the DfE to make their intentions clear, while the “UK remained in Brexit Limbo.”
“The ongoing uncertainty is restricting student choice and the ability of English universities to recruit the best students from the EU. Whatever the eventual fee status of EU nationals, universities need at least 18 months’ notice of any change,” a spokesperson for Universities UK said.
The DfE is drafting a new immigration policy for post-Brexit study, including EU students who currently face no restrictions in relation to visas. However, if UK stays in the EU after next autumn, the pressure on DfE to extend their student policy for another year will intensify.