My Lords, with the leave of the House, I will now repeat a Statement made in the other place by my honourable friend Chris Skidmore, Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation, in response to an Urgent Question.
“Mr Speaker, the Government have repeatedly made clear that we absolutely value international exchange and collaboration in education and training as part of our vision for a global Britain. We believe that the UK and European countries should continue to give young people and students the chance to benefit from each other’s world leading universities post exit.
Over the weekend, the media reported on a leaked Cabinet document discussing government policy regarding EU student access to finance products for the 2020-21 academic year and beyond. At this time, I wish to tell the House that no decision has been made on continued access to student finance for EU students. Discussions at Cabinet level are ongoing and should remain confidential. I will make no comment on this apparent leak, which is deeply regrettable.
Students from the EU make a vital contribution to the university sector. It is testament to the quality and reputation of our higher education system that so many students from abroad choose to come and study here. As I stated earlier, the numbers are up 3.8% for EU students since 2017 and up 4.9% for non-EU students since July 2017. In July 2018, we announced that students from the European Union starting courses in England in the 2019-20 academic year will continue to be eligible for home fees status, which means that they will be charged the same tuition fees as UK students and have access to tuition fee loans for the duration of their studies. Applications for students studying in academic year 2020-21 open in September 2019. The Government will provide sufficient notice for prospective EU students and the wider higher education sector on fee arrangements ahead of this 2020-21 academic year and for subsequent years, which, as I just stated, will also reflect our future relationship with the European Union and the negotiations on this going forward”.