Brexit & European Students

The biggest impact of Brexit on European students will be on the cost of university.

Currently, tuition fees for European students are capped at £9,250 for full-time degrees starting in 2017.

The risk is that once Great Britain exits the European Union, European students will be charged Overseas fees, which are significantly higher (for example, Overseas mechanical engineering students starting in 2017 at Imperial College London will be charged a staggering £27,750).

Furthermore, currently it is straightforward for European Union students to get a low interest Tuition Fee Loan from the British government  on a similar basis as U.K. nationals.

After Brexit, this financial support will no longer exist.

Once Brexit occurs, I suggest to European students happy to pay the increased cost of British higher education and looking to borrow to fund their studies to look at funding their studies through peer-to-peer lending, through such websites as:

Putting aside the future increased cost of British higher education, Brexit will likely have a positive impact on European university applicants. Specifically, it will mean that European applicants will compete on equal footing with other applicants to British universities.

Given the increasing privatisation of British universities, if an admissions officer faces two similarly qualified students, except one non-EU applicant will pay upwards of £9,250, whereas the EU student will pay less, that admissions officer will in most cases admit the non-EU student.

Therefore, when Brexit occurs and fees rise, EU applicants will compete based on merit, rather than on fee status.

Putting costs aside, another future issue that EU applicants will face post-Brexit will be whether or not they will need a visa to study in the U.K. Although there is not a clear answer to this question currently, given the backlash that current home secretary Amber Rudd face when she announced a possible two-tier system of student visas, I see it as unlikely that EU student numbers will be significantly curbed post-Brexit.

Finally, for EU students put off British higher education by the likely future increase in fees, I suggest that they consider applying to study in the Netherlands.

For example, the liberal arts programs at University College Utrecht is a degree taught in English which is increasingly of interest to cost-conscious European students.

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