Are you an EU student baffled by the UK tuition fee system? We don’t blame you, and Brexit sure isn’t making it any easier. Our complete guide takes you through everything you need to know.
If you’re an EU student who fancies doing a degree in the UK then you’ve made a great choice – we’ve got some of the best universities in the world, with great career prospects and a vibrant student culture.
If you’re struggling to wrap your head around the finance stuff though, don’t let it deter you! This guide has everything you need to know about tuition fees, living costs and student loans for EU students studying in the UK.
Note: This guide covers Student Finance from the Student Loans Company, which is a government-funded student loan system to cover the cost of university in the UK. You can also get private tuition fee loans and loans from other sources, but they aren’t discussed in this guide.
Can EU students get student loans in the UK?
Most EU students can get a government-funded Student Loan to cover the cost of their tuition fees while studying at a university in the UK. This loan is paid directly to your university (so you don’t see it), and you pay it back in instalments after you graduate.
Eligibility for a Student Loan is based on the following:
Note: If you’re not sure whether your country is part of the EU, click here to see if it is listed as a Member State. The EEA includes all Member States of the EU, plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.
Other eligibility criteria
As well as the main eligibility requirements listed above, there are a few other instances in which students might be eligible to apply for a Student Loan.
If you think any of the below apply to you, you should contact the relevant student finance body (Student Finance England, for instance) to clarify details and check your eligibility.
Can EU students apply for a Maintenance Loan in the UK?
Unfortunately, most EU students won’t be eligible for a Maintenance Loan to cover their living costs while studying in the UK.
Only students who have been living permanently in the UK for at least five years prior to the start of their course will be able to apply for a Maintenance Loan.
In this instance, students apply for Student Finance (Tuition Fee Loan and Maintenance Loan) in the exact same way as UK students do – check out our full guide here.
Which university courses are eligible for Student Finance?
If you’re studying at a university in the UK, you’ll most likely be eligible to apply for Student Finance if you’re studying one of the following qualifications:
Note that in most instances you will only be eligible to apply for student finance if this is your first degree. If you already have a degree, you may not be able to apply. Check with the relevant Student Finance body if you’re unsure.
UK university fees for EU students 2018/19
EU students qualify for home fee status, meaning they get charged exactly the same as UK students for their degree.
Most universities in the UK charge £9,250 a year for students studying full-time on a course, but prices will vary if you choose to study part-time or at a private university or college (there are only five private universities in the UK).
The table below shows the maximum amount of Student Loan you can receive to cover your tuition fees.
UK student loans for EU students 2018/19
|Course||Tuition fee loan 2018/19|
|Full time||Up to £9,250|
|Full time at private university or college||Up to £6,165|
|Part time||Up to £6,935|
|Part time at private university or college||Up to £4,625|
Do EU students pay tuition fees in Scotland?
Although Scotland is part of the UK, its Student Finance system works slightly differently from the rest of the UK.
In Scotland, EU students (from outside the UK) qualify for home fee status meaning they don’t pay for their tuition fees at all – the full £1,820 a year is covered by the Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS). Our full guide to Student Finance in Scotland has more information on how exactly this works.
Bursaries and scholarships for EU students
If you’re worrying about how you’re going to cover your living costs while studying in the UK, you might want to look into getting a bursary or scholarship.
Bursaries are monetary awards given to a student by an individual or institution to help them with their education. These are usually awarded based on individual circumstances, for example, a student from a low-income background or studying a particular subject.
Scholarships are usually merit-based awards, which means they’re awarded to students who have achieved high grades and show potential to succeed in a certain subject.
Bursaries and scholarships can be offered by organisations, individual universities and even companies, so do some thorough research to find those you’re eligible for, and check out our guide to bursaries and scholarships for international students for some guidance on where to look.
How much does it cost to live in the UK?
The cost of living in the UK can vary quite a lot depending on where you’re living. As a general rule, London is very expensive with high rent costs and the further North you go, the cheaper it gets.
Wherever you are, your biggest expense is always going to be rent – the average student pays £566 a month for accommodation. But prices vary from around £100 a week in the North East to over £200 a week in London, so do your research.
We’ve ranked the average cost of rent at every university in the UK to give you an idea of what you’ll be paying.
But don’t forget your other living costs – everyone has to have a social life after all. Most students spend around a £100 a month on food and £60 a month on socialising.
How to apply for a UK Student Loan
EU students have to complete the relevant application form and send it off to the Student Loans Company by post before the deadline in order to apply for a Student Loan.
Note: Not sure when your deadline is? You have up to nine months after the start of the academic year to apply, and this will either be the 1st September, 1st January, 1st April or 1st July. Check with your university if you’re unsure, as the start of the academic year isn’t always the same day your course starts.
Remember, if you are the child of a Turkish worker, or an EU student applying for additional help as well as help with your tuition fees, you can ignore this. You need to apply for help the same way as a student from England does (more advice here).
What you need to apply for a UK Student Loan
As part of your application form, you’ll need to send off some evidence to prove your identity and nationality.
All evidence must be photocopies of the original copy, signed, stamped and dated by a person of good standing in the community (such as a doctor, lawyer or teacher but not a family member).
To prove your identity and nationality you’ll need to provide a copy of either your passport and/or national identity card.
If you’re applying as a family member of an EU national, you’ll to provide copies of their passport and/or national identity card, as well as a birth certificate or marriage certificate to prove their relationship to you.
The exact evidence you need to provide will vary depending on the form you need to complete – pay close attention to the small print to make sure you’re sending off the correct evidence, as any mistakes can cause serious delays in your application.
Application forms can take a while to process and there’s no set guidance on exactly how long it can take, but if you haven’t heard anything in a month, it would be worth calling them up to make sure they’ve received your form.
If your income or family situation changes, or if you change courses or universities, you will need to let Student Finance know this information, so they can make any necessary changes to your loan eligibility.
Repaying your UK Student Loan
EU students repay their loan in the exact same way as UK students do. Our complete guide to repaying your Student Loan has everything you need to know, but here’s a quick summary of the key points:
The key thing to remember is that student debt isn’t the same as other kinds of debt – repayments are manageable and always in line with what you earn. You never have to pay it back if you can’t afford to!
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