Brexit FAQs

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Universities UK is currently working through the implications of the UK's withdrawal from the European Union (EU) for the higher education sector. We will continue to keep members and all our stakeholders informed as events develop. Please check this page regularly for updates. ​​

  1. Will EU/EEA students still be able to study at UK universities?

  2. Will tuition fees rise fo​r EU/EEA students studying at UK univers​ities as a result of Brexit?

  3. Will EU/EEA students continue to be eligible to receive loans and grants?

  4. What about students participating in the Erasmus+ exchange programme?

  5. Will the UK continue to have access to EU funding for research and innovation?

  6. Will UK universities still be able to employ staff from other EU/EEA countries?



When does the post-Brexit transition period end? 

  • The Withdrawal Agreement sets out that there shall be a post-Brexit transition period starting from the date of Brexit and ending on 31 December 2020.

Will EU/EEA students still be able to study at UK universities? 

  • There will be no change to the immigration status of EU students who are already here. This was confirmed in the government's Statement of Intent on the EU Settlement Scheme

  • EU nationals who already live in the UK will be able to apply for the Settlement Scheme. Subject to there being a transition period following the Withdrawal Agreement being passed, EU nationals who arrive in the UK by 31 December 2020 will also be able to apply. The deadline for applying is set to be 30 June 2021. They will be able to be granted either settled status or pre-settled status

  • The settled status enables EU nationals having lived continuously in the UK for at least five years to live, work and study in the UK for as long as they like. EU nationals having lived in the UK for less than five years will be able to apply for pre-settled status, which will allow them to meet the five-year residency requirement needed to apply for settled status. Those eligible can apply here

  • The government has reached agreements with governments of EEA countries (Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein) and Switzerland about the rights of their citizens. These are broadly in line with those negotiated for EU students and citizens; EEA nationals will be able to guarantee their rights in the UK through the EU Settlement Scheme.

  • Further information on what Brexit may mean for EU students is available here. Information on EEA and Swiss students is available here.

Will tuition fees for EU/EEA students studying at UK universities change as a result of Brexit?​

  • Governments across the UK have confirmed that EU students starting a course in 2019–20 and in 2020–21 will still be eligible for home fee status and for financial support as per existing rules. 
  • In England, Chris Skidmore MP, the Universities Minister, has confirmed that EU students starting a course in 2019–20 and in 2020–21 at an English higher education institution will remain eligible for home fee status. 

  • The Welsh government has confirmed that the same EU student fee status and financial support arrangements will continue in 2019–20 and in 2020–2021.

  • Scotland has confirmed that EU students starting a course in 2019–20 and in 2020-21 will be eligible for free tuition.

  • For Northern Ireland, the government has also confirmed that EU students starting a course in 2019–20 or 2020–2021 will be eligible for home fee status.

  • The fee status of EU and EEA students starting courses at UK universities from 2021–22 has not yet been determined by UK governments.

  • Further information on what Brexit may mean for EU students is available here. Information on EEA and Swiss students is available here.

Will EU/EEA students continue to be eligible to receive loans and grants?

  • Governments across the UK have confirmed that EU students starting a course in 2019–20 and in 2020–21 will still be eligible for home fee status and for financial support as per existing rules. 

  • In England, Chris Skidmore MP, the Universities Minister, has confirmed that EU students starting a course in 2019–20 and in 2020–21 at an English higher education institution will remain eligible for financial support from Student Finance England for the entire duration of their course.

  • The Welsh government has confirmed that the same EU student fee status and financial support arrangements will continue in 2019–20 and in 2020–2021.

  • The Scottish government and Universities Scotland have confirmed that there has been no change in current funding arrangements for EU students. This means that eligible EU students already studying in Scotland, including those that commenced their studies the current academic year, or those that are applying for 2019-20 and 2020-21, will continue to benefit from free tuition for the full duration of their course and, for those who meet the residency requirement, associated living cost support.

  • For Northern Ireland, it has been confirmed that EU students starting a course in 2019–20 or 2020–2021 will be eligible for the financial support associated with home fee status.

  • The government has announced that "EU, EEA EFTA and Swiss nationals within scope of the citizens' rights EU Settlement Scheme, and Irish nationals, will continue to be eligible for student finance support on broadly the same terms as now".

What about students participating in the Erasmus+ exchange programme?

  • Subject to the Withdrawal Agreement passing, the UK will continue to participate in Erasmus+ until the end of the programme in 2020. This means staff and students can complete mobility periods, and receive funding, through the Erasmus+ programme until the end of the academic year 2020-21.

  • There has not yet been an agreement on the UK’s relationship with EU programmes that are due to start in 2021 (Horizon Europe and the next Erasmus).

Will the UK continue to have access to EU funding for research and innovation?

  • Subject to the Withdrawal Agreement passing, the UK will remain in the Horizon 2020 research programme and other EU funding programmes that are part of the multiannual financial framework (MFF) until the end of 2020. This will allow for UK participants to continue to apply for and receive Horizon 2020 funding for the full duration of successful projects. UK recipients will have to continue to comply with EU financial reporting and auditing requirements.

  • In this scenario, UK-based researchers can participate fully in all Horizon 2020 calls issued by 31 December 2020, with any successful grants covered in full (via the EU budget) for the duration of the project. The European Commission will continue to make payments to UK recipients so the UKRI no-deal funding mechanisms will not be required for this period.

  • UUK continues to lobby for full association for the next framework programme, Horizon Europe, which is due to start on 1 January 2021. The proposal for this programme was published by the European Commission in June 2018, and leaves open the possibility of full UK participation as an associated country.

Will UK universities still be able to employ staff from other EU/EEA countries?

  • Yes; EU nationals who already live in the UK (or who arrive by 31 December 2020 if there is a transition period following a deal being passed), will be able to apply for 'settled status'. This will enable EU citizens to live, work and study in the UK for as long as they like, with the ability to leave the UK for up to five years without endangering their settled status. The Settlement Scheme opened in March 2019. Those eligible can apply here.

  • EU citizens who have already been in the UK for five years and can evidence that will be granted settled status. EU citizens who have lived in the UK for less than five years will be granted pre-settled status until they reach the five-year residency requirement. Those EU/EEA nationals with permanent residence will be able to convert their permanent residence status into the new settled status free of charge, subject only to verification of identity, a criminality and security check and proof of ongoing residence.

  • The government has reached agreements with governments of EEA countries (Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein) and Switzerland about the rights of their citizens. These are broadly in line with those negotiated for EU students and citizens. Nationals of these countries will be able to guarantee their rights in the UK through the EU Settlement Scheme. 

UUKi Brexit webinar series

UUKi and the FCO Science and Innovation Network (SIN) are joining forces to keep the UK and European higher education and research sectors up to date on the developments in Brexit in the year to come. You can watch the Brexit webinar series on YouTube.

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