As the 2017 academic year starts, around 50,000 EU students will travel to the UK to start their undergraduate degree. If you’re starting your studies in 2018, should you join them – or does Brexit mean you should look elsewhere?

The good news is that EU students who start studying in the UK in 2018/19 will be treated exactly as they are now – not just in 2018, but for the entire length of their course. That means that even if Brexit happens before you complete your course, you will continue to pay ‘home/EU’ fees, and be eligible for a student loan, throughout your studies.

What if I start in 2019 or later?

No one yet knows what will happen for students who start their course in 2019/20. UK universities are very positive towards EU students and want to continue to encourage EU students, but what this will mean in practice is unclear.

What if I defer entry?

If you plan to apply in 2018 but defer entry until 2019/20 (eg if you want to take a gap year), then you can’t take advantage of the certainty of 2018 arrangements. Your nationality status depends on the year you start, not the year you apply, so simply applying early won’t protect you from any changes!

What’s the difference between an EU and an International student?

For 2018, the UK classes students as ‘Home and EU’ and ‘International’. Home and EU students never pay more than £9,250 a year in fees. Fees for international students aren’t capped and vary between courses and universities – generally around £15,000-£20,000 a year, although clinical degrees are much more.

Home and EU students can also apply for a student loan to cover the costs of fees (and, in some cases, living expenses). You only start repaying it when you earn £21,000 or more, and the amount you repay depends on how much you earn, not how much you owe. These loans are not available to international students.

Is it different in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland?

Yes! In 2017, EU students pay up to £9,250 fees in England, up to £4,046 in Wales, and up to £3,295 in Northern Ireland. EU students in Scotland do not pay fees. Figures for 2018 will be very similar.

What about the exchange rate?

As of September 2017, the UK feels like good value to EU students because of the Euro to pound exchange rate. But, of course, no one knows whether or not this will last.

What if I want to study in the UK for a semester?

All current ERASMUS+ arrangements will stay in place until June 2019. That means UK and EU students will continue to take part in the Erasmus scheme until then, with no changes. What will happen after that is unclear.