Students from the European Union will no longer be able to claim student loans in England under the home fee status from the 2021-22 academic year onwards, the government have confirmed.
The Universities Minister, Michelle Donelan MP, said in a statement that this would apply to all types of funding – “undergraduate, postgraduate and advanced learner financial support” – provided by Student Finance England (SFE) in the first full academic year after the current transition period.
The new change would be for students who start their studies in 2021-22, and it is understood that those studying in 2021-22 who are continuing students will be able to continue with their current finance arrangements.
Donelan added that the decision was as a direct result of the “Government’s decision to leave the EU”, whilst also stating that “EU, other EEA and Swiss students, staff and researchers make an important contribution to our universities. I want that contribution to continue and am confident – given the world-leading quality of our higher education sector – that it will.”
The news comes as there has already been a 2% drop in applications to UK universities from EU/EEA students for the 2020-21 academic year, according to UCAS data.
Nick Hillman, director of Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI), said that although this decision wasn’t “a huge surprise […] to date, EU students have benefited from lower fees and access to student loans that are subsidised by UK taxpayers. Together, these have lowered the financial obstacles to studying in the UK.”
He urged EU citizens to apply to universities to start in this coming September under home fee status “before the new rules come into effect next year”.
The Transition Period allows for new legislation to be designed for the UK’s future relationship with the EU, and ends on 31 December 2020.