Charging EU citizens full international student fees to study in England risks “pulling up the drawbridge” after Brexit, higher education leaders and opposition parties have warned.
Although it has long been assumed that EU students would lose access to loans and pay higher tuition fees after Brexit, a report in Buzzfeed raised fears and questions of higher fees imposed on EU students who start courses after the UK’s exit, according to the Guardian.
Nick Hillman, the head of the Higher Education Policy Institute, said: “Ever since the referendum, it’s been highly likely that EU students would come to face the higher fees charged to those from other countries.
Morally, it would be exceedingly hard to defend charging richer Germans less than poorer Indians if we are not in the EU.
“But fee levels are only part of the picture. EU students can currently take out loans with the Student Loans Company to pay their fees and the loans don’t need to be repaid until later on. Losing access to the loans matters as much as the headline fee, because suddenly they will have to find the money upfront.”
Universities UK, the group representing 140 UK higher education institutions, urged the DfE to clarify its intentions while the UK remained in Brexit limbo.
“It is essential there is no further delay in the UK government confirming the fee status for EU students starting courses at English universities in autumn 2020. The recruitment cycle is already well under way,” a spokesperson for Universities UK said.
“The ongoing uncertainty is restricting student choice and the ability of English universities to recruit the best students from the EU. Whatever the eventual fee status of EU nationals, universities need at least 18 months’ notice of any change.”