Brexit - fees and Student Support

Last modified: 02 October 2020

Since the 'Brexit' referendum vote in 2016, government ministers in England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland have all issued regular statements to reassure EU nationals (and sometimes their family members) who are studying in the UK about their ongoing entitlement to student finance and/or 'home' fees. They have tended to make announcements for each academic year (2017/18, 2018/19, and so on), normally one year in advance of the relevant academic year.

In this page, we give you a summary of what each of the four UK governments have said, dating back to 2016. We also tell you what is so far known for students commencing study in autumn 2021.

For info about student finance in light of Covid-19, including links to government FAQs, see our student finance info at Questions we can answer (in our Coronavirus (Covid-19): info for international students).

What the UK governments are saying about those who are due to start study in 2021/22

Last modified: 02 October 2020

Here are the main headline statements made by each of the governments regarding students who are due to start study in 2021/22

Studying in England and/or applying for student support from England

Studying in Scotland and/or applying for student support from Scotland

Studying in Wales and/or applying for student support from Wales

Questions we have about the 2021/22 academic year

Last modified: 02 October 2020

We are receiving many questions about how fee status eligibility and student finance entitlement will look for the 2021/22 academic year onwards, especially for those who are starting in Autumn 2021.

In this section, we look at some of the outstanding issues.

This is an evolving situation and UKCISA continues to push for the UK governments to provide information that is timely and accurate.

Until we receive answers or amended legislation, we cannot provide more information on the following topics on our website or on our advice line. As soon as we have clear answers, we will update this information.

EU, EEA and Swiss nationals benefiting from Citizens’ Rights under the EU Withdrawal Agreement, the EEA EFTA Separation Agreement, or the Swiss Citizens’ Rights Agreement

People with ‘pre-settled’ or ‘settled’ status under the EU settlement scheme

UK nationals in the EU, the EEA or Switzerland

Irish citizens

British Citizens who live in Gibraltar

Children of Turkish workers

Relevant legislation for 2021/22

What the UK governments have said about students who start study in 2020/21

Last modified: 02 October 2020

On 19 April 2019, Scotland confirmed that "EU citizens who study a Further or Higher education course in Scotland in the 2020/21 academic year will be charged the same tuition fees and will get the same fee support as Scottish students for the entirety of their courses. This will mean that the vast majority of EU students will be guaranteed free tuition. Having previously committed to continuing this funding for 2019/20, the Scottish Government has confirmed today that it will continue to financially support eligible EU students starting their studies in 2020/21". See Scotland's 2020/21 full statement.

On 28 May 2019, England confirmed that "eligible EU nationals will continue to benefit from home fee status and can access financial support for the 20/21 academic year" and "[...] EU nationals who start a higher education course in England in the 2020/21 academic year will remain eligible for undergraduate and postgraduate financial support, Advanced Learner loans as well as FE and apprenticeships support, whether a deal for leaving the EU is in place or not". See England's 2020/21 statement.

On 31 May 2019, Wales confirmed that "EU nationals who intend to study in Wales for the academic year 2020/21 will be eligible to pay the same tuition fees as Welsh students and will be eligible to receive loans and/or grants from Student Finance Wales (SFW), subject to existing eligibility criteria. […] This is a continuation of the current policy and students will be eligible to receive support until they finish their course [...]". See Wales's 2020/21 statement.

On 4 June 2019, Northern Ireland confirmed that "EU students part way through their higher education courses, or starting in the 2020/21 academic year, will have guaranteed ‘home fee’ status for the duration of their courses in Northern Ireland [...] EU nationals who are already in receipt of student loans from Student Finance Northern Ireland, and EU students applying for university places in NI in the 2020 to 2021 academic year will continue to have access to student loans and certain grants, irrespective of a ‘deal’ or ‘no deal’ exit from the EU". See Northern Ireland's 2020/21 statement.

For those who started study in 2019/20...

Last modified: 02 October 2020

England confirmed the same funding package, as for 2018/19 and before, for EU students commencing study in 2019/20. This meant they will "be able to access financial support for the duration of their course on the same basis as is available today" and "continue to be eligible for 'home fee status', which means they will be charged the same tuition fees as UK students”. See England's published 2019/20 statement which was added to by a ministerial statement in parliament on the same day, in which it was indicated that family members are included in these provisions. New legislation, amending England's fees and student support regulations to the above effect, was laid before Parliament on 31 January 2019.

Scotland confirmed that it would "extend [its 2017/18 and 2018/19] commitment to the 2019/20 cohort [which] means that all eligible non-UK EU citizens who come to Scotland to study for an undergraduate higher education qualification in 2019/20 will benefit from free tuition". See Scotland's 2019/20 statement. Legislation amending Scotland's fees and student support regulations, to take effect on ‘exit day’, was laid before the Scottish Parliament on 25 February 2019.

Wales confirmed that "EU nationals who intend to study in Wales for the academic year 2019/20 [...] will be eligible to receive loans and/or grants from Student Finance Wales. This is a continuation of the Welsh Government’s current policy and means that students will be eligible to receive support until they finish their course". Additionally, "EU nationals who intend to study in Wales for the academic year 2019/20 will be eligible to pay the same tuition fees as Welsh students”. See Wales's 2019/20 statement. New legislation, amending Wales's fees and student support regulations to the above effect, was laid before the Welsh Assembly on 5 March 2019.

Northern Ireland confirmed that "EU nationals who are currently in receipt of student loans from Student Finance Northern Ireland, and EU students applying for university places in NI in the 2018/19 and 2019/20 academic years will continue to have access to student loans and certain grants, even if the course concludes after the UK’s exit from the EU". The statement is no longer publicly available. Northern Ireland also laid new legislation, amending its own fees and student support regulations, to the above effect on 1 March 2019.

The above legislation changes were designed to take effect on ‘exit day’, that is the day the UK leaves the EU. Whilst the UK has now left the EU, the UK and the EU remain in a transition period until 11pm on 31 December 2020. In this transition period, EU law provisions still apply in the UK and ‘exit day’ has been re-defined across a lot of legislation to mean ‘the end of the transition period’. This means that none of the legislation, referred to above, has yet come into effect.

For those who started study in 2018/19...

Last modified: 02 October 2020

Here are the main headline statements made by each of the governments regarding students who started study in 2018/19

England

Scotland

Wales

Northern Ireland

For those who started study in 2017/18...

Last modified: 02 October 2020

Here are the main headline statements made by each of the governments regarding students who started study in 2017/18

England

Scotland

Wales

Northern Ireland


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