May 11, 2017 at 12:00am ET By Joanna Hughes

Brexit cast doubt on the future of outward-bound exchange to the UK: Would students from the EU still qualify for “home fee status” and the corresponding financial benefits after the UK’s departure from the EU? However, an announcement last month from Minister for Universities and Science Jo Johnson set minds at ease -- at least for the next few years. Here’s a closer look at the development.

Eligibility Assurance for EU Students

According to a press release from the Department for Education and the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, EU students will maintain eligible for support across all levels (undergraduate, master’s, postgraduate, and advanced learner), not only for the 2018-2019 academic year, but throughout their course of study -- even if it concludes after Brexit.  For those enrolled in four-year degree programs, this could mean eligibility until 2022.

Said Minister Johnson, “A key part of our success is attracting talent from across the globe. This will provide reassurance to the brightest minds from across Europe to continue applying to study in the UK, safe in the knowledge financial assistance is available if needed.”

Researchers Also to Benefit

EU nationals will also qualify to apply for Research Council PhD studentships at UK universities during the 2018-2019 year, according to the release.

“We have been clear about our commitment to the UK’s world-class higher education sector. Through our modern industrial strategy and the additional £4.7 billion committed for research and innovation over the next 5 years, we are ensuring the UK has the skills and environment it needs to continue leading the way in academia and research.” said Johnson.

A Plea for Open Exchange

Not surprisingly, the announcement was met with acclaim from the higher education sector.

Dr. Tim Bradshaw, acting-director of the Russell Group of universities, told The Times, “This announcement gives EU students the certainty they need when considering studying in the UK as well as giving our universities clarity to plan ahead. We are also pleased that EU nationals will continue to be able to apply for research council PhD studentships. Postgraduate research students are vital to the economy and to maintaining and enhancing the country’s strengths in research and innovation. It’s important that the UK continues to attract the brightest and best.”




Joanna worked in higher education administration for many years at a leading research institution before becoming a full-time freelance writer. She lives in the beautiful White Mountains region of New Hampshire with her family.

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