Government plans to charge EU students higher university fees criticised

 
Harry Robertson
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Education secretary Damian Hinds is planning to end EU students' right to lower university fees. (Source: Getty)

Government plans to make students from the European Union pay higher tuition fees at English universities have been criticised in the run up to the European Parliament elections.


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The Department for Education’s plan, first reported by BuzzFeed, would end so-called home fee status and financial support that EU students currently receive for courses starting in 2021-2022.

It would mean new EU students would face markedly higher prices for an English university education, bringing them in line with those paid by international students from outside the bloc. Under current rules EU students pay the same amount as British students at English universities.

Labour MP Angela Rayner, shadow education secretary, said: “Time and time again this government has refused to recognise the vital contributions made by international students, particularly from the EU, in our universities.”


“From including students in their migration target to leaving the future of Erasmus and Horizon 2020 in doubt, they are failing to support our world-leading universities,” she said.

Liberal Democrat education spokesperson Layla Moran said: “This shambolic Conservative government, not content with putting off EU nurses applying to work in the NHS, now want to undermine world leading universities.”

A Department for Education spokesperson said: “The government will provide sufficient notice for prospective EU students on fee arrangements ahead of the 2020-2021 academic year and subsequent years in the future.”

“Students from the EU make an important contribution to the universities sector and it is a testament to our system that so many students from abroad choose to come and study here,” the spokesperson said.

Change UK, the political party of The Independent Group, said the move would damage Britain’s economy by putting off EU nationals from moving to the UK.

Ann Coffey, Change UK’s education spokesperson, said: “International students make a hugely positive contribution to Britain. As well as enriching our universities with their ideas and experiences, international students provide a net contribution of £20bn a year.”

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“Students from the EU make an important contribution to the universities sector and it is a testament to our system that so many students from abroad choose to come and study here,” the spokesperson said.