What does Brexit mean for students?

At the time of writing, we now have under 80 days until Brexit is believed to be going ahead. Indeed, the UK has been a member of the European Union since 1973, but now that it is exiting the EU, what does this mean for students across the UK?

In the Summer of last year BBC News declared that EU students in England, Scotland and Wales will be continued to be treated the same as UK students. This treatment would be extended to those in the first intake after Brexit. EU students who will graduate as late as 2023 are covered by holding a ‘home fee’ status, but what will happen as Brexit negotiations continue? Clarification is needed for students who will continue to study past that date.

As far as tuition fees are concerned, these will stay the same. At least for the foreseeable future. This is mostly due to the fact that a potential rise in tuition fees would act as a deterrent to study in the UK. The funding for research that stems from tuition fees is in demand now more than ever, and any reduction in student intake would negatively impact any university funded research projects. It is therefore in the UK’s best interest to not deter any students from enrolling in UK Universities.

Although tuition fees for UK students have been capped at £9,250 (for the time being), the interest that will be expected to pay on fees has risen to 6.3 percent. Even though students will only pay back 15 percent of their earnings over the salary threshold of £25,000, 6.3 percent is quite a hit. In regard to paying back fees in proportion to your income, Georgia Brumby observes that ‘loan repayments are based on how much you earn – not how much you’ve borrowed’. Brumby further suggests that a rise in tuition fees would not act as a deterrent ‘if its explained to you that even if the fees are higher, you’ll still pay the same amount back’. Another UEA student Lee Casey expresses the view that a potential rise in tuition fees would affect people, ‘some students already say they don’t go to uni because of debt and those numbers would only increase with a rise in fees’.

For international students, Brexit will not change the application process. Simultaneously, the amount of tuition you pay or the requirements for your visa will remain the same. These will be handled in the same way as they have in previous years.

Brexit will be in full force on the 29 March 2019, and hopefully will not impact students’ education any further.

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Jess Barrett

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May 2022
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