Overseas Students: EU Nationals

Department for Education written question – answered on 17th July 2020.

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Photo of Fabian Hamilton Fabian Hamilton Shadow Minister (Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs)

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure that the Government's decision to remove home student status from EU students will not adversely affect UK universities income.

Photo of Michelle Donelan Michelle Donelan Minister of State (Education)

As a consequence of EU exit, the UK will no longer have a justification to provide home fee status and student support to EU nationals. It is therefore right that EU students, other than those from Ireland, should in future be treated the same as other international students. Students from Ireland will be able to access student support on a reciprocal basis through the Common Travel Area arrangement. We now look forward to being truly open to the rest of the world.

EU citizens and their family members starting courses in England in the 2020/21 academic year or before will remain eligible for undergraduate and postgraduate financial support for the duration of their course.

International students make a vital contribution to UK universities. Our institutions thrive on being global institutions and will always be open to international students, including the thousands of highly valued EU students that study at UK universities each year.

The government is committed to continuing to improve our UK’s world-class offer to international students, which is why we have announced the new graduate route, to be introduced in summer 2021. The graduate route will be simple and light-touch and will permit graduates at undergraduate and masters level to remain in the UK for 2 years and PhD graduates to remain in the UK for 3 years after they have finished their studies and to work or look for work at any skill level - a significant improvement in our offer.

The UK’s new International Education Champion, Sir Steve Smith, will assist with opening up export growth opportunities for the whole UK education sector, which will include attracting EU students to UK universities. The government is also working alongside stakeholders to support students and the UK higher education (HE) workforce to manage the transition period. This involves working to solidify existing and establish important new global relationships and promoting an open and welcoming message to all international – EU and non-EU – students wishing to come to the UK to study at our world-class education institutions.

The government has acted to help HE providers deal with the financial impacts of COVID-19 through the combination of the HE stabilisation package announced on 4 May which reprofiled public funding and introduced measures to stabilise admissions, the broader government-backed business support schemes and the research stabilisation package announced by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy on 27 June.

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