EU-student funding guarantee extended
Released: Wednesday 12th October 2016 at 11:39
Today’s Government announcement that EU students applying for a place at an English university or further education institution in the 2017 to 2018 academic year will continue to be eligible for student loans and grants, has been welcomed by the University of Sunderland.
The decision will mean that students applying to study from 2017 to 2018 will not only be eligible for the same funding and support as they are now, but that their eligibility will continue throughout their course, even if the UK exits the European Union during that period.
The move will help give universities and colleges certainty over future funding, while assuring prospective students applying to study at one of the UK’s world class universities that they will not have the terms of their funding changed if the UK leaves the EU during their studies. The same assurance will be available for EU students studying in further education.
A University of Sunderland spokesperson said: “We welcome today’s announcement, which provides reassurances for our EU students currently studying with us and those applying to study at Sunderland in 2017-18.
“The cultural diversity and economic value our international students bring to the city and wider region is hugely significant indeed; they are immensely important. These international graduates go on to make a difference across the world, acting as great ambassadors for the University and life-long supporters of the North East. They are, and always will be a much valued part of our university family and we are proud of the difference they make here and across the world. The whole of the UK benefits in so many ways from international students.”
The announcement follows assurances given by the Government in June shortly after the EU referendum result. This included immediate guarantees that students currently in higher or further education, and those applying for a place this year (2016 to 2017) would continue to be able to access student funding support - including loans and grants - under the current eligibility criteria.
Universities Minister Jo Johnson said: “We know that the result of the referendum brought with it some uncertainties for our higher education sector. That is why in June we acted quickly to provide immediate funding guarantees for existing students and those applying to study this year.
“International students make an important contribution to our world-class universities, and we want that to continue. This latest assurance that students applying to study next year will not only be eligible to apply for student funding under current terms, but will have their eligibility maintained throughout the duration of their course, will provide important stability for both universities and students.
“We are also taking steps, through our Higher Education Bill, to maintain the world status of our universities while delivering students value for money and choice and employers the skills they need to help our economy grow.”
Dame Julia Goodfellow, President of Universities UK said: “This announcement provides much needed clarity for EU students applying to start courses at English universities in autumn 2017. Over recent weeks the university sector has made very clear to Government the urgent need to address this issue. It is good to see the Government has recognised the value of EU students and acted positively to guarantee their access to financial support.”
Under current student finance rules, EU students are eligible to receive undergraduate tuition fee loans if they have resided in the European Economic Area for at least three years prior to study. EU nationals who have resided in the UK for over five years, are also able to apply for undergraduate maintenance support and master’s loans. Similarly, under EU law, EU students are also eligible for home fee status - which means they are charged the same tuition fees as UK students. Other, non-EU, international students do not have their tuition fees capped in this way.
Today’s confirmation will mean that for EU nationals, or their family members, who are applying for a place at university from August 2017 to study a course that attracts student support, the current funding rules will remain unchanged. All applicants will be eligible for student loans and/or grants under the current terms and, if deemed eligible, will be able to receive those for the duration of their course.