What you need to know about studying in the UK after Brexit

Before Brexit, EU students enjoyed the freedom of movement to study, work and live across the European Union. The United Kingdom was a popular study destination for thousands of EU students, who were able to study at UK universities under the same conditions as British students.

But after Brexit, the rules have changed. Students now need visas, university fees have changed. There are also additional considerations for EU students to think about, like healthcare, and employment while studying. Let’s take a look at what it’s like for EU students to study in the UK after Brexit.

How to apply for a UK student visa

The good news is that it is still very possible for EU students to study in the UK. However, there is more paperwork involved than there was previously. In order to take up your place at a UK university, you’ll need to apply for a student visa.

It will cost you £348 to apply for a student visa if you’re outside the UK. That rises to £475 to apply if you’re in the UK already.

In order to apply, you’ll need to show that you have been offered a place at a UK university. You can show this with a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) document from your institution.

You’ll also need to show on your visa application that you speak English at the level you’ll need in order to live and study in the UK. To do so, you’ll need a score of at least 59 in PTE Academic.

Find out about using PTE Academic for your UK student visa

The other consideration when applying for a UK student visa? You’ll need to show that you have sufficient funds to pay your course fees for at least the first year of your studies.

Many international students also need to show that they have enough money to cover their living expenses while studying, but EU students are exempt from this requirement.

Learn how to budget for student life in the UK

You will also need to pay the immigration health surcharge which is £470 per year, for every year of your degree. This charge allows you to use the National Health Service (NHS) during your time in the country.

The Graduate Route

If you complete your degree in the UK and you’d like to stay longer, you’ll be eligible for the Graduate route. It allows international students to stay in the UK for an additional two years after being awarded their degrees, to start their careers in the UK. If you are a doctorate level graduate, you may apply to stay in the country for up to three years.

You’ll be able to look for employment, change workplace, do internships and gain valuable experience in the UK job market after graduation.

Student fees for EU nationals

Previously, EU students paid the same course fees as UK students. Post-Brexit, that is no longer the case. Now, all international students pay the same fees.

The amount you’ll pay for university in the UK will vary from course to course, and institution to institution. Studying English at the University of Oxford costs £32,480 per year, on average But, if you choose to study English at Durham University (also a highly ranked institution) the fees are significantly lower, at £22,900 per year on average.  

That being said, some universities are offering EU Student Scholarships:

  • Royal Holloway University of London is offering a fee reduction scholarship, which could reduce the cost of a year’s fees from £18,100 to £12,790.
  • The University of South Wales is also offering scholarships for EU students which reduce the cost of the fee so that EU students pay the same as British students for their courses.

In Scotland, there is a scholarship program specifically for EU students at Master’s level. The Saltire Scholarship will support EU students to study at Scottish universities. There are 272 scholarships available which cover a proportion of your student fees.

The fee for a Master’s in Gender Studies at the University of Glasgow is £20,400, for example. But, if you are awarded a Saltire Scholarship, your bursary of £8000 would reduce that fee to £4,400. You can learn more about the Saltire Scholarship here.

Many universities throughout the UK are offering similar bursaries, grants and other forms of support for EU students. Once you’ve created a shortlist of UK universities you’d like to study at, make sure to ask what support is available for EU students.

Working in the UK as an EU student

You might wish to support yourself by working while you’re studying at a UK university, as many students do. With a student visa, you’ll be able to work up to 20 hours a week during term time, and full time (up to 40 hours a week) during the university holidays. Note that students who study full-time below a degree level can only work 10 hours a week. This information will be clearly stated on your visa once it’s approved.

Typical student jobs are jobs that fit around classes. This includes jobs in hospitality, courier or tutoring jobs, among others. You could even work online, doing proofreading or translation.

There is a website called Student Jobs where you can have a look at the kind of jobs that students in the UK do – and see what’s available in your destination city.

Learn more

PTE Academic is accepted by the UK government for visa purposes, as well as by 99% of UK universities as proof of your English language abilities. Find out more about how PTE Academic can help you to study in the UK as a EU student post-Brexit.

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