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UK: 20% EU students plan to start studies early

A survey by QS has shown that one in five EU students are planning to start their courses in the UK early after the government announced that students from the EU will lose home fee status in the academic year starting 2021/2022. Worryingly, more than half (64%) of those surveyed were unaware of the changes.

Value for money and overall cost are key factors for international and EU students choosing where they want to study. Photo: Unsplash

64% of prospective studentssaid they were not aware of the announcement

The think-tank spoke with 600 students from the EU and asked them about their plans to study abroad. Some 20% of students said the announcement meant they now intended to start their studies in the UK earlier than planned.

“The latest research underlines how important it is to understand the priorities of overseas students”

By contrast, 17% of those surveyed said they were planning to defer their entry to a later date because of Covid-19.

“We know that value for money and overall cost are key factors for international and EU students choosing where they want to study,” said marketing director at QS, Paul Raybould.

“It is therefore unsurprising that the government’s announcement has encouraged some EU students to consider beginning their studies earlier than they had originally planned so that they can take advantage of the home fee status that will no longer be available to them from the 2021/22 academic year.”

A worrying percentage of students who took the survey did not actually know the rules on home fees were going to change – out of 84% of respondents who said they were considering studying in the UK, 64% said they were not aware of the announcement. 

“The lack of awareness of the recent fees announcement amongst EU students considering the UK as a study destination is of particular interest and should concern policymakers,” said Raybould.  

He explained that this information has an impact on prospective students’ intentions to start their studies in the UK, so it is vital that this is communicated to them in a clear and effective way.

Director of the Higher Education Policy Institute, Nick Hillman said that the changes to home fees will be “seen as bad news inside universities”. 

Lower fees and access to taxpayer subsidised student loans have lowered the financial obstacles to studying in the UK, he explained. 

“My message to any EU citizen wishing to benefit from the current arrangements is that it is not too late to apply for entry in 2020, before the new rules come into force next year,” Hillman added.

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