There is currently plenty of confusion surrounding Brexit and as yet still no likely resolution around the corner.
But what does this mean for postgraduate students? Will tuition fees change? And what about visa restrictions? Well, there is a possibility that postgraduate student tuition fee rates may change for UK and EU students, however, as things stand it looks like UK postgraduate students won't need visas to study in Europe, although they may need to register in the EU. On the plus side, the value of a postgraduate qualification across Europe was agreed with the Bologna Treaty, and so Brexit should have no impact on this.
Let’s take a quick look at the situation as it currently stands.
Postgraduate tuition fees for UK students in the EU
If there is a Withdrawal Agreement agreed before the UK leaves the EU, then this will include information detailing what UK students studying in the remaining EU nations will be charged for tuition fees. In the event of a No-Deal Brexit, the EU nations will charge tuition fees based on their own policies, which could be the rate currently charged to international 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.
Tuition fees for EU students in the UK
There are already guarantees in place for tuition fees in the UK for EU students to be charged at the same rate as home students for 2019-20. 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 – again it is recommended that EU students contact their UK university of interest directly to find out where they stand.
International students in the UK or Europe
Conditions in the UK and the EU will remain the same for international students with their tuition fees and visa regulations remaining unchanged, so Brexit certainly shouldn't effect your decision to study a PG program in the UK.
For 2019-20 EU students in the UK will not need visas for the entire length of their course with or without a Withdrawal Agreement. UK students who are currently resident in an EU country and wish to start a postgraduate course there will most likely have to register their residency status in that country, as will new postgraduate students when they arrive.
Withdrawal Agreement and transition period
Postgraduate students are not mentioned within the Withdrawal Agreement and unless it is agreed otherwise, the tuition fees charged to postgraduate students from the UK will be decided on a nation-by-nation basis. However, when the transition period ends – currently December 2020 – the tuition fee status of UK and EU postgraduate students will probably change again.
The Bologna Treaty sets the standards for undergraduate, masters and PhD courses across Europe making transferring between institutions in Europe easier. As long as the UK remains a signatory of the Bologna Treaty, then Brexit will have no impact on the value of postgraduate qualifications in the UK and Europe.
The situation for Brexit and PG students remains in flux – we will keep you updated as and when decisions are made and more information becomes available.