Now that the Brexit transition period is over, European Union (EU)/European Economic Area (EEA) and Swiss students will lose their Home fee status for studying an LLM program in the UK from autumn of 2021 onwards.
So, what does this actually mean for European students planning to study their Master of Laws at a law school in the UK?
The Minister of State for Universities, Michelle Donelan, confirmed that, “Following our decision to leave the EU, EU, other EEA and Swiss nationals will no longer be eligible for home fee status, undergraduate, postgraduate and advanced learner financial support from Student Finance England for courses starting in the academic year 2021/22.” Currently this decision only affects students in England, Scotland and Wales, as Northern Ireland has not confirmed its plans yet for the academic year 2021/22.
This means that from 1st August 2021 onwards, all EU/EEA and Swiss nationals – with the exception of students from Ireland and those already living in the UK and registered with the EU Settlement Scheme – will no longer have the benefit of being treated like Home students when it comes to postgraduate or undergraduate tuition fees, instead these benefits will only apply to UK students. Those students from all other countries will be classed as International students when it comes to tuition fees, and this could mean that the LLM tuition fees are twice as much for the EU students as they previously were, if not more.
However, it is thought that many UK law schools and universities will put funding and scholarships in place – like the Aberdeen Global Scholarship (EU) at the University of Aberdeen – to provide EU students with tuition fee discounts and funding towards their LLM programs. For example, the Aberdeen Global Scholarship (EU) entitles eligible applicants from the European Union with a £5,000 discount from their LLM tuition fees. So it is definitely worth doing some research to see what funding UK law schools are offering EU students.
There is also the possibility that UK law schools and universities will reduce their international tuition fees to make their LLMs and other postgraduate law courses more accessible to European students once again – so keep an eye on the fees and funding sections of their websites.
It is important to note that as this big change in European student tuition fee status only comes into effect on 1st August 2021, EU students able to start their LLM program before this date can still benefit from Home fees at UK law schools. This means it is worth considering LLM programs with February or spring 2021 start dates, or indeed anytime before 31st July 2021 – there really is no better time to start your LLM in the UK than right now! And don’t forget that once you have been accepted on your LLM program you are eligible to apply for one of our Global LLM Study Bursaries worth £500.
Finally, please note that these new restrictions do not affect EU/EEA and Swiss students who are already studying their Master of Laws program in the UK – they are entitled to Home tuition fees for the duration of their LLM program.