Brexit is finally here and the UK is formally leaving the European Union.
Whatever your opinion is on the matter, one thing’s for sure, Brexit has made things more than a bit confusing for postgraduate students from the UK wishing to study their masters or PhD in Europe, as well as for those EU students wishing to come to the UK to study their PG program. The biggest issues for both UK and EU students is what impact will Brexit have on their tuition fees and funding, and will they need to apply for a visa to study in their chosen country?
Let’s try and clear things up a bit.
What are the main aspects of PG studies that Brexit could change?
Whether you are an EU student or a UK student, there are three main changes that may happen to your postgraduate studies because of Brexit:
- Tuition fees
- Government funding and PG finance
- Need for a visa
Currently EU citizens (and until today this included UK residents) do not need a visa to study in any other EU country. They also pay the same tution fees and for the most part they can access the same postgraduate and government funding as home students. However, now Brexit has arrived this is likely to change for UK students wishing to study a PG program in the EU and for EU students wishing to come to the UK.
EU students in the UK
From now until 31st December 2020 there is a transition period during which time the UK and the EU need to negotiate future arrangements such as postgraduate funding, the need for student visas and postgraduate course tuition fees. During this period of transition the UK Government has guaranteed that fees and funding will remain the same for all EU students studying their PG program in the UK for the academic year 2020/21, as well as for those that are already studying their course. EU students also won’t need to get a visa if they start their PG program at a UK university in autumn 2020, however if the duration of the course means they will need to live and study in the UK after June 2021 they will need to apply to the UK Government’s EU Settlement Scheme. For those EU students wishing to start their PG program from the academic year 2021/22 and beyond, decisions are yet to be made by the UK Government with regards to funding and visas. It is expected that this will be formalised during the period of transition.
UK students in the EU
During the period of transition, the remaining 27 EU countries will all decide individually what their policies will be with regards to UK students studying a postgraduate program at their universities. Currently the EU countries mostly have guarantees in place for PG students from the UK for the academic year 2020/21, with a view to then treating UK students in the same way as international students from the academic year 2021/22 onwards. Although if you are a UK student it’s important to check with the individual countries before embarking on your studies in an EU country, as these guarantees may well involve the UK students having to formally register to study in the specific countries in much the same way as the UK’s EU Settlement Scheme. Ireland differs from the other EU nations, as its existing fees and funding situation for UK PG students will continue after the transition period.
What about Erasmus?
The Withdrawal Agreement foresees that the UK will continue to participate in the current Erasmus programs, including Erasmus+, as if the UK was an EU Member State until the closure of the programs. The possible participation of the UK in future Erasmus programs after 2020 will depend on the outcome of the overall negotiations on the future relationship between the two parties.
What about bursaries?
Whether you are a UK student wanting to study your masters or PhD in the EU, or an EU student wishing to study your postgraduate program at a UK university, you are still eligible to apply for a Postgrad Solutions Study Bursary worth £500. Find out more here.
Disclaimer: please note the information provided in this blog is our 'best guess' as to what the situation will be for EU and UK students post Brexit. For official sources of information please check the UK Government's official site and the websites of the individual EU countries.