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Posted Jan. 18, 2021

What does post-Brexit Britain mean for Erasmus Students?

Erasmus studentsThose UK postgraduate students who were thinking about participating in the Erasmus scheme have been severely impacted by Brexit, however, those who are currently participating in the scheme have very little to worry about.

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The Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degree is a prestigious program run by Erasmus which gets huge numbers of applicants every year. It is available to masters students around the world and has recently seen an increase in the number of participants.  

Erasmus students


So, let’s take a look at what post-Brexit Britain means for Erasmus students.

What is an Erasmus student?

An Erasmus student is any student, including postgraduate students, who participate in the Erasmus program. The Erasmus program is a system of exchange with the universities in the European Union, and it has been going since the 1980s. It’s not just EU countries that participate in the Erasmus program, other European countries such as Iceland and Turkey, which are not EU member states are also involved with the Erasmus program. The exchange trips extend to postgraduate courses at universities to work experience or teaching training and can last from three months to one year.

Current UK Erasmus students in EU countries

Postgraduate students from the UK who are already participating in an Erasmus year are not impacted by the decision of the UK Government to leave the Erasmus program. They can continue with their planned studies until the allocated funding runs out.

Current EU Erasmus students in the UK

The same applies to EU students and those from other Erasmus-participating nations that already have Erasmus funding for a current or planned exchange trip to the UK. Postgraduate students from EU member states currently in the UK will need to ensure they have completed the EU settled status forms by the 30th of June 2021.

PG students considering the Erasmus scheme from the UK

In the UK those students who are resident in Northern Ireland can opt to participate in the Erasmus scheme through universities in the Republic of Ireland. For postgraduate students in the rest of the UK, there are a couple of options. One is to attend EU universities as a postgraduate student by applying directly and attending as an international student using other scholarships and funding options to pay for the experience. The UK Government is currently planning on replacing the Erasmus scheme with a new system named after the mathematician Alan Turing with plans to offer grants for international study. The Turing Scheme is a global education scheme that will start in September 2021 and be supported by £100 million, providing funding for around 35,000 students in universities, colleges and schools to go on placements and exchanges overseas. The Turing Scheme will not replace the support network offered by the Erasmus program to their students, but it is hoped that it will be a good alternative and it will help to open up other countries for UK postgraduate students.

PG students considering the Erasmus scheme from EU member states

EU students who were planning an Erasmus year in the UK will now have to re-evaluate their plans. Exchange trips are still possible, but this may involve more work on the student’s part. Check with your university to see what links they are maintaining with UK universities and where they would recommend you study. Since the free movement of people from EU states to the UK has ended, postgraduate students must ensure they register for settled status or for a student visa if they are planning on staying in the UK for more than six months.

PLEASE NOTE: As a result of Brexit, from Autumn 2021 postgraduate students from the European Union studying at a UK university will be charged the same tuition fees as international students. UK students studying their postgraduate course at a European university are also likely to incur higher tuition fees than their EU counterparts. It is advisable to check with the individual universities in the UK and Europe for up-to-date information on tuition fees for all postgraduate programs.

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