Following the EU referendum, The Student Loans Company has been determined to reassure students from the EU and studying in Britain, that there will be no changes to their financial support, despite the fact that Britain are officially set to leave the EU. Students from the European Union that are set to start university courses in the UK this autumn, will have their funding honoured and those that are currently in university will have their financial support continued. A tweet from university minister Jo Johnson has confirmed that the UK has and will ‘welcome EU students’. By confirming it over Twitter, a widely used social media platform, Mr Johnson was determined to ensure he reached as many people as possible.
With many universities accommodating a large amount of studying EU students, as well as many students embarking on international exchanges and taking a year out to study abroad in research projects, universities have understandably been concerned about the implications of an unexpected Brexit. Although current and soon to be students have had news that their tuition funding is not to be affected by the result, there are stil concerns for those looking to go to university beyond 2016. With UCAS processes already started, potential EU students are left in the lurch with regards to their funding. Quite a proportion are expected to await a decision as with around 125,000 EU students in UK higher education, many will be expecting top attend university to continue their studies. It has been said that the UK’s controversial Brexit decision has created uncertainty for the future of higher education as they eventually become without EU funding. The UK is worryingly, currently one of the largest recipients of EU research funding, receiving 3.5bn euros between 2007 and 2013, and had contributed 5.4 bn euros.
Will a Brexit stop people people from pursuing a British higher education?
There are concerns that the Leave vote could mean that students from EU nations are treated just as any other international student. They will not be seen to be closely related to British students, and as a result of this there could be a hike in tuition fees as well as exclusion of EU students from British loan payments. Before a Brexit, the Eu’s free movement policy meant that EU students had the same access to universities as British students themselves, receiving loans to help pay fees. UK loan facilities are notoriously generous, only asking for a student loan to begin being paid back when an ex-student is earning 21,000 a year minimum. Without this help, university could become a very different experience for some EU students, many not attending due to not having the financial means necessary. Simon Gaskell, president and principal of Queen Mary University in London is thought to have issued a statement after the results of the referendum which stated that anyone from the EU wanting to attend his university would need not worry about their tuition fees. To any of those considering applying, their tuition fees would stay at £9000 annually, regardless of the changes the country will experience.