There were many twists and turns accompanying the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union, but in the end, Brexit became a reality. What does this mean for Polish students who want to pursue higher education at a university in England? Will they be forced to abandon their dreams of studying in the UK after Brexit and start looking for a university in another country? We will answer these questions in today’s article.
An attractive offer of undergraduate studies in the UK
Until recently, studying in the UK was extremely popular among Polish high school graduates. Universities in England had an excellent reputation and attracted high school graduates with their high level of education and accessibility.
Above all, the short distance between Poland and Great Britain and the extensive network of air connections made the journey to “conquer England” relatively easy. In a way, logistically, it didn’t differ much from a high school graduate from Szczecin going to university in Krakow or a resident of Jelenia Góra traveling to Gdańsk. Moreover, it allowed them to immerse themselves in a different cultural dimension and start their adult life in a new and exciting place.
Furthermore, studying in the UK was a kind of investment. The practical dimension of studying at universities in England makes their graduates highly sought after in the job market. Moreover, spending several years in an English-speaking country allows one to master the foreign language almost to perfection.
At the same time, thanks to Poland and the UK’s presence in the European Union, it was a very cost-effective investment. Not only was the cost of studying in the UK lower for EU member states, but the tuition fee loan also allowed people who otherwise couldn’t afford it to take advantage of this option.
Moreover, the tuition fee loan, known as the Tuition Fee Loan, is granted on very attractive terms. Its repayment starts only one year after completing the studies, and even then, it depends on finding a job where earnings exceed the set income threshold. Moreover, the repayment of the tuition fee loan is automatically written off after 30 years, regardless of the amount you have already repaid.
Under these circumstances, the presence of the UK in the European Union allowed many Poles to apply for undergraduate studies in England without difficulty. However, will Brexit make studying in the UK beyond the reach of Polish high school graduates?
Studying in the UK after Brexit
It must be admitted that the UK’s decision to leave the European Union not only affected European high school graduates dreaming of studying in England but also impacted the universities themselves. Virtually all universities in the United Kingdom were aware that they could lose students as a result of this and appealed to stay within the structures of the Union.
Now, after Brexit, they are fighting for high school graduates from all over Europe to still be able to study in the United Kingdom under preferential conditions. Will this happen in the coming years? We don’t know that yet. However, we do know how the situation looks for students who are already studying in the United Kingdom or are about to go there.
As mentioned earlier, the United Kingdom offers Polish high school graduates a high level of education at a very attractive cost. Additionally, access to tuition fee loans made the cost of studying in the UK after Brexit practically negligible and was limited to the cost of living on-site. However, Brexit has led to a sudden increase in the cost of studies and access to tuition fee loans will be closed. Fortunately, this does not apply to individuals who started their studies in the United Kingdom before the year 2020. British law doesn’t apply retroactively, so if you’ve already received a decision on tuition fee loan approval, it will remain valid throughout your study period in England.
Furthermore, high school graduates who are applying for admission to undergraduate studies in the United Kingdom for the academic year 2020/2021 also don’t need to worry about financing. It will be available under the same terms as before, throughout the entire duration of their studies. And this won’t change, as the United Kingdom has a much more stable system compared to Poland. However, we still don’t know what the situation will be like for the academic year 2021/2022.
Funding for studies in the United Kingdom after 2020.
Polish high school graduates who would like to study in the United Kingdom after 2022 will find themselves in a more challenging situation. There is a risk that they might lose their Home/EU status, which will change to International. In such a case, they will be subject to the same funding rules as individuals from outside of Europe. What does this mean?
Much higher tuition fees and a lack of funding for education and living expenses from the British government. In practice, this will mean that studying in the UK will be accessible only to wealthy individuals who can afford to cover the costs of education, ranging from £10,000 to £33,000 per year. In a slightly better situation, only the top-performing students may be eligible for academic scholarships or grants. However, their availability will decrease, and the number of applicants will increase.
However, such a solution is not beneficial for either the candidates applying for studies in the UK or the universities themselves. So far, they are striving to fight to make studying in England still attractive. What will it look like in the future? Time will tell, so we have no choice but to wait.
However, if you are wondering whether it’s worth starting your studies in the UK this year, our answer is affirmative. Brexit could make a degree from a British university even more valuable in a few years.