Existing fee arrangements will be maintained for Irish students enrolling in UK universities in 2021/22, Ireland’s government has confirmed.
Due to the Common Travel Area agreement between Ireland and the UK, students starting in 2020/21 had been told existing arrangements would apply to them – meaning UK students in Ireland would continue to pay €3,000, and Irish students would still pay the same fees they did before Brexit.
But it wasn’t clear if the agreement would stretch for another year, into 2021/22. In January 2020, Minister for Higher Education Mary Mitchell O’Connor said that student grants “will be maintained for Irish and EU students heading to the UK to pursue their studies on approved courses for 2020/ 2021”.
Yesterday, the Department of Education confirmed in an email to the The University Times – in a statement attributed to Mitchell O’Connor – that Irish students “will be eligible for the same rate of fees as home students in the UK” after Brexit.
“British students will still be eligible for the same fee structures as EU students in Ireland”, the email added.
Yesterday, the UK government announced that students from the EU will no longer be eligible for home fee status or student loans from the 2021/22 academic year as a result of Brexit.
In a statement, the British government’s universities minister, Michelle Donelan, said that the change would apply to “undergraduate, postgraduate and advanced learner financial support from Student Finance England for courses starting in academic year 2021-22”.
Donelan said that the move would “not apply to Irish nationals living in the UK and Ireland whose right to study and to access benefits and services will be preserved on a reciprocal basis for UK and Irish nationals under the Common Travel Area arrangement”
In January, the government confirmed that existing fee arrangements would be maintained for the 2020/21 academic year but it remained unclear if they would be following Britain’s official withdrawal from the EU.
In a press statement at the time, Minister for Education Joe McHugh said that he was “determined” that the move “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”, he added.
In April 2019, speaking at the Scholars’ Dinner, Provost Patrick Prendergast expressed concerns about Brexit and how it affects Trinity’s relationship with the UK, calling it a “highly regrettable situation”.
He added that “universities don’t operate in isolation and they never did … politics has [sic] always affected academia”.