EU and EEA ( European Economic Area) students will be classified as overseas students starting from the 2021/22 academic year.
They will be charged full tuition fees, lose access to the tuition fee loan and no longer be eligible for many needs-based funds.
EU students and staff make an important contribution to universities in the UK, culturally, socially and economically.
Many students are worried about the new laws that are likely to influence their decision whether to study in the UK.
Andrea Bianco, an Italian student planning to study at a university in London, said: “My course starts in September 2021 so I will not have access to the home fee and I don’t think I can afford to pay the international students’ tuition fee anymore.”
Bianco added: “I’ve always admired universities in the UK but I don’t think I can achieve my dream of studying in London.”
Residents of EU nations are usually able to study in other EU countries as “home students”. Compared to the fees charged to international students, home fees are generally lower or non-existent.
A new immigration system came into place on January 1 2021 and anyone intending to come to the UK to study will now need to apply under the relevant category of the immigration rules.
This could discourage EU and EEA students from applying, given the immigration process will be more complicated.
Areta Bukowski, a student from Poland who is looking to study at a university in the UK, said: “Unfortunately there are extra fees and expenses now for EU students to pay, such as for the visa and a yearly charge to use the health care service.”
Bukowski added: “I think it’s unfair for any EU student who had the ambition to study in the UK.”
All nations in the UK have pledged that EU students can continue to access home fee status and current funding arrangements until the end of the 2020-21 academic year.
At present, there is a large proportion of EU students studying in the UK. The figures currently stand at over 143,025 EU students who study at UK universities.
In turn, EU students contribute £3.7 billion to the British economy whilst filling many extra jobs in the UK.
Non-international students have also expressed their concerns at the lack of diversity that may be present in higher education institutions.
Iqra Khan, a student at a university in London said: “I’m disappointed that we might experience less and less diversity in classrooms as currently we have many EU students but for the next academic year this may not be the case because many of them may no longer afford to pay the fee.”
Many fear that with the new post-Brexit laws their education journey will be disrupted by the loss of access to support from student finance to cover their tuition fees.
Students can find more information on the new rules on UK students in the EU: continuing your studies – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)