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Universities UK President calls for urgent government action to address uncertainty among EU students

Dame Julia Goodfellow

The President of Universities UK has called on the UK government to take 'swift and positive action' to provide reassurance to EU students applying to study next year that they will pay the same fees and have access to the same financial support arrangements for the duration of their courses.

In her keynote speech to Universities UK's annual members' conference in Nottingham, Dame Julia Goodfellow said that urgent reassurance was necessary to 'prevent a likely sudden decline in EU student applications' across the UK. More than 125,000 EU students are currently studying at UK universities, making up 5% of the entire student population.

Following the EU referendum result in June, there were statements from across all UK nations confirming that current EU students and those starting courses this autumn (2016–17) will be eligible to receive loans and grants to fund their studies for the duration of their courses. There has, however, been no clarification on EU students applying to study from next year (2017-18). The situation has now become urgent as the UCAS process for accepting applications for 2017 opened yesterday (6 September).

Dame Julia Goodfellow, President of Universities UK and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Kent, said: "Put simply, universities are currently unable to answer two crucial questions that are being frequently asked by prospective EU students considering whether to apply for to start courses in the UK in autumn 2017. What fees will you charge for any years of my course which are post the date of exit? Will I be able to access any financial support?

 "This issue is urgent. UCAS applications opened yesterday for the 2017-18 intake and EU students are almost twice as likely as UK students to apply very early for those courses with October deadlines. I urge Government to take swift and positive action to address uncertainty, prevent a likely sudden decline in EU student applications and provide much needed reassurance to prospective EU students and universities across the UK." 


  1. Dame Julia Goodfellow's comments on EU students have been made as part of her keynote speech at Universities UK's annual conference on Wednesday 7 September. The  conference – taking place this year at Nottingham Trent University – is the largest annual gathering of university leaders, with over 100 university leaders, the Universities Minister and other key figures from the university sector in attendance. For more information on the conference, please contact the Universities UK press office on 0207 4195407 or pressoffice@universitiesuk.ac.uk

  2. For more information on the implications of the vote to leave the EU on universities, please see our Brexit FAQs 

Key Contacts

Gareth Morgan

Gareth Morgan

Media Relations Manager
Universities UK

Clara Plackett

Clara Plackett

Press and Social Media Officer
Universities UK


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