The Department for Education has extended support for European Union students for another year.

EU students applying to universities in England for next year have been promised they will still pay the same fees as home students and be eligible for student finance.

Universities had been worried that they could not tell EU applicants the cost of courses starting in 2020.

Universities Minister Chris Skidmore said EU students needed “certainty”.

It means that students from the EU applying to begin courses next year will continue to have access to student loans throughout the duration of their courses.

Clarity on fees

They will continue to pay £9,250 like home students – and will not be treated as “overseas” students, which would mean much higher fees and a loss of eligibility for student finance.

The Scottish government has already announced such a continuing status for EU students in 2020 – which in Scotland means paying no tuition fees.

With the Brexit process unresolved, and the application cycle beginning for 2020, the Department for Education has pushed back any changes in England by another year.

There are about 37,000 EU students currently in the process of applying for autumn 2019 – and universities in England had been concerned uncertainty over fees could cause a drop in recruitment and a loss of income.

“Having clarity of their fee status is critical, especially in light of the continuing uncertainty over Brexit,” said Jess Cole, director of policy for the Russell Group of universities, where most of the EU students study.

The group of leading universities says EU students are worth £4bn per year to the UK economy.

Universities have also been concerned about losing access to EU research funding.

“It is important that we remember that while we have chosen to leave the EU, we are not leaving Europe, and our universities thrive on the diversity of being global institutions,” said Mr Skidmore.

The universities minister said the assurances over fees and funding would give EU applicants “the certainty they need to make their choice”.

Source: BBC

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