The UK education sector is one of the most international in the world. Students and staff from the EU and beyond are extremely welcome. They make an enormous contribution to the UK and the success of its education institutions.
Does the UK leaving the European Union affect students from the EU?
If you’re from the EU, EEC or Switzerland, and you’re thinking of coming to study in the UK, there are a few practical things that might change as a result of the UK leaving the EU. These depend on when you arrive in the UK.
If you arrive in the UK before 31 December 2020, there’s very little that will change. If you arrive from 1 January 2021 onwards, there may be some changes. Many of these are still subject to negotiations, but the UK government, the British Council and universities in the UK are working hard to make any new arrangements as simple as possible.
Will EU students have to pay the same as international students to study in the UK?
At present, EU students have ‘home fee status’ in the UK. This means that if you’re an EU student, you pay the same fees as students from the part of the UK where your university is located (England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales). You can also apply for UK student loans.
This won’t change if you’re applying for a place at a university or further education institution in the UK in the 2020-21 academic year. You will continue to be eligible for ‘home fee status’ – in other words, you will be charged the same tuition fees as UK students and can still apply for UK student loans. If you’re from the EU and have already started your course in the UK, you are also guaranteed your existing status for the duration of your studies.
These guarantees apply for the full duration of your course, even if it finishes after 31 December 2020.
EU students who start a new course in England after September 2021-22 will be charged international student fees (Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales will have separate arrangements). Find out what this means in the 'Money and budgeting' section of our Study UK website.
EU students starting new courses in England after September 2021-22 will also no longer be eligible for main UK student loans (Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales will have separate arrangements). However, there may be other forms of financial support you can apply for. Find out more in the 'Scholarships and funding' section of our Study UK website.
Will EU students need a visa to study in the UK?
If you arrive in the UK before 1 January 2021, you will not need a visa. If you plan to stay in the UK longer than 1 January 2021 (for example, to complete your full course), you’ll need to apply online for the EU Settlement Scheme. The scheme is free of charge. You should apply as soon as possible after you’ve arrived in the UK.
Immigration rules for EU citizens who arrive from 1 January 2021 have not yet been announced.
Can EU students still come to the UK on the Erasmus+ exchange programme?
The UK will continue to participate fully in the current Erasmus+ programme, which lasts until the end of 2020. Participants who study, train, volunteer or spend time abroad through Erasmus+ exchanges that were confirmed during the current programme (2014-2020) can participate fully and for the full duration of their exchange. This covers UK participants going abroad and international participants coming to the UK. The UK’s participation in future Erasmus+ programmes is part of discussions between the UK government and the EU and has not yet been finalised.
The British Council, the Erasmus+ UK National Agency (British Council and Ecorys UK) and Universities UK are strongly supportive of continued and full UK participation in Erasmus+ after the UK leaves the European Union, so that UK and EU students can continue to benefit from Erasmus+ opportunities over the longer term.
For the most up-to-date information on Erasmus+, go to the UK National Agency website.
Where can I find more detailed information?
We will continue to update this page regularly. Please see below for additional official sources of information about UK higher education.