What Does Brexit Mean For Postgraduate Students?

With the EU situation still so uncertain in the UK, we can currently only guess what potential changes could
happen for postgraduate students as a result of Brexit. So, for the time being we are summarising the situation as it stands – with a view to update this information as and when the situation is resolved.

Please note that this information is our best-guess summary of what’s currently in place – please refer to the UK Government website for further advice.

Let's look at the main scenarious that could apply to you as a postgraduate student:

Are you a UK student wanting to study in Europe?

As a UK postgraduate student EU membership currently means that you are treated exactly the same as a home student when studying in another EU country. This means that you pay the same tuition fees and have access to most of the same funding opportunities. You currently don’t need a visa and do not need to sit the same entrance exams or provide the same documentation as international students. However, unless proper arrangements are reached, Brexit could mean that UK students lose access to these benefits when studying in the EU. In the instance of a No-Deal Brexit each EU country will be able to set its own tuition fees and visa requirements for UK postgraduate students. So far, only Ireland has stated that they will continue to apply the same current conditions for incoming UK students for 2019-2020. Meanwhile Spain, Austria and Finland have announced that they will treat new UK students as international students if there is a No-Deal Brexit. If you are planning on studying in the EU and are a British student, then you should contact the university you are considering directly for guidance. 

Are you a European student wanting to study in the UK?

Currently as an EU postgraduate student at a UK university the UK’s EU membership means that you are treated exactly the same as a home student. This means that you pay the same tuition fees and have access to most of the same funding opportunities as UK postgraduate students. You currently don’t need a visa and do not need to sit the same entrance exams or provide the same documentation as international students. There are already guarantees in place for tuition fees in the UK for EU students to continue to be charged at the same rate as home students for 2019-20. This means that postgraduate students from the EU who are currently studying or planning to start their course in 2019-20 will be charged the same rate as home students for the duration of their course. After 2020 it is not yet clear what will happen to tuition fees for EU students coming into the UK, so it is recommended that EU students contact their UK university of interest directly to find out where they stand. In the event of a No-Deal Brexit it is currently unclear what the visa situation will be for European postgraduate students in the UK post 2020.

Are you an International student wanting to study in Europe or the UK?

There’s good news here as the conditions in the UK and the EU will remain the same for international students with their tuition fees and visa regulations remaining unchanged whatever the outcome of Brexit.

Are you already a postgraduate student in the UK or Europe?

If you have already started your postgraduate program – either as a UK student in Europe or as a European student in the UK – you’re unlikely to be affected by Brexit. EU students in the UK are covered by fees and funding guarantees for courses beginning before or during 2019-20. And it’s unlikely that European universities would change arrangements for UK students partway through their masters degree or PhD.

What does Brexit mean for Erasmus students?

UK masters students currently have access to Erasmus Masters Loans and Erasmus Mundus Joint Masters when studying in Europe. Access to some of this funding depends on the UK’s membership of Erasmus, and once Brexit happens the UK will automatically stop being an Erasmus program country. It’s possible for the UK to rejoin Erasmus, but it would have to pay to do so – and it is as yet unclear as to whether this will happen. You should check in advance if you are planning on applying for Erasmus funding for your masters program as a UK student in the EU or an EU student in the UK.

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