No fees increase for Irish students applying to college in the UK next year despite possibility of Brexit looming.

Irish students applying for colleges in England and Wales next year will not face a rise in registration fees.

There have been concerns for the 10,000 students already studying in the UK that Brexit could lead to Irish and EU students having to pay much higher international student fees from next year.

However, UK authorities have confirmed that EU students applying for entrance into an English higher education institute for the 2017-2018 academic year will pay the same tuition fees as UK students.

Responding to the news, Universities UK President Dame Julia Goodfellow said, “Students from other EU countries can now apply for places in undergraduate courses starting in autumn 2017 with the certainty that they will not have to pay up-front tuition fees and now have a guarantee that they will receive government-backed loans to cover their tuition fee for the duration of their courses”.

According to recent figures released by the average cost per year to study in the UK at undergraduate level as an EU citizen is £9,000.

EU students will also be able to access the same funding they are entitled to now. This means they will continue to be eligible for student loans and grants during their degree course.

Officials have said the agreement will still be valid even if the United Kingdom leaves the EU during the course period.

The Welsh government has also confirmed EU students applying for entry at Welsh universities in 2017-2018 will be eligible for the current levels of loans and grants.

Rolf Tarrach, president of the European University Association, said that it was reassuring news for both students and universities

“The announcement gives the higher education sector much-needed clarity and has shown that the government acknowledges the value of EU students,” he said.

The European University Association has called on Scotland and Northern Ireland to issue similar reassurances.

It also wants a commitment to ensure students, from Europe and beyond, are able to continue studying in the United Kingdom without unnecessary bureaucracy once the UK officially leaves the EU.

Paul Dwyer

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