“They are trying to stop us coming”: Sheff student reacts to funding cuts for EU students

EU students coming in 2021 no longer get a loan

Students from the EU will no longer be eligible for home fee status and student loans from 2021, potentially resulting in a 60% decline in the number of EU students in the UK.

Currently, British and EU nationals pay the same fees of up to £9,250 per year. But, without loans to cover tuition fees, many students from the EU may be left with no choice but to study at home.

The future of university might be about to become much less diverse – an Italian student in Sheffield, Aurora, told The Tab that she wouldn’t be able to study in the UK without the loans.

She said: “I would abandon the idea of coming to the UK. I came to Sheffield to study journalism as it isn’t available in Italy. I’m reliant on Student Finance support.

“I don’t know how I would do without the loan. I feel like this is what they are trying to do: make us stop coming to the UK”.

This may be the case for many students in the EU, who are unable to study their desired course in their home country, but cannot afford to study in England without a loan.

In 2018/19, the UK had over 140,000 students from the EU – but this may be about to change. Nick Hillman, director of Higher Education Policy Institute, said: “Higher fees and no more access to student loans could risk a decline of about 60 per cent in the number of EU students coming to the UK to study.”

He said that this would be “seen as a bad thing inside universities”, although “not a huge surprise”.

Current EU students will be protected by the Brexit withdrawal agreement and should not be affected by the changes, which will only apply to courses beginning in 2021.

The University of Sheffield currently welcomes thousands of students from all over the world, arriving here to study from 140 different countries. The largest EU group in Sheffield is from Poland, with 278 students.

Our students’ union societies reflect the diversity of our students and represent their interests. However, these societies which strengthen our educational environment and are an indispensable feature of university culture, may soon cease to exist.

Unfortunately, from 2021 onwards, with a huge reduction in numbers of students from the EU, universities may become less diverse, and less representative of other nations, languages and cultures.

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Featured image credit: Steve Fareham, labelled for reuse under this Creative Commons License.