Irish students planning to study in UK will not face fee hike, says minister

UK students on 2020/21 courses in Ireland will continue to pay € 3,000 registration fee

Minister for Education Joe McHugh said the commitment to maintain the current fees structure would give students from Britain and Northern Ireland time to plan their education options for the coming year. File photograph: Alan Betson

Minister for Education Joe McHugh said the commitment to maintain the current fees structure would give students from Britain and Northern Ireland time to plan their education options for the coming year. File photograph: Alan Betson

 

Irish students hoping to study at UK universities next September will not face a hike in fees and can continue to avail of Irish grant support despite the UK’s scheduled exit from the EU at the end of the month, according to the Department of Education.

In a statement released on Friday, Minister for Education Joe McHugh said the current fee regime and grants support for Irish students studying at UK institutions from September 2020 would remain in place.

Eligible Irish and EU national students enrolling in UK third level institutions later this year will also be able to avail of grant support from Student Universal Support Ireland (SUSI), while UK students who choose to study in the Republic will continue to be charged the same €3,000 registration fee as their Irish peers, he said.

This arrangement will be maintained for the duration of students’ studies, said the Minister.

The department’s announcement will come as a great relief following fears that Irish students could end up paying international fees of up to £35,000 per year once the UK leaves the EU. However, it remains unclear whether the existing fee structures will remain in place for Irish and UK students entering third level from September 2021.

Mr McHugh said the commitment to maintain the current fees structure would give students from Britain and Northern Ireland time to plan their education options for the coming year.

“We are heading into a period of change but student mobility between Ireland and the UK has always been a strong feature of our education systems,” he said.

“I am determined that this should grow and serve to remind us all of our shared respect and understanding. I can assure prospective students from Britain and Northern Ireland that their contribution to our higher education institutions will always be very welcome.”

Minister of State Mary Mitchell O’Connor, who has responsibility for higher education, said she was pleased student grants would continue for Irish and EU students heading to the UK for their studies while British students could continue to access the SUSI scheme.

The statement said the protection of the fee structure would build on the Memorandum of Understanding on the Common Travel Area (CTA) which guarantees reciprocal rights regardless of Brexit.