How will Britain’s exit from the Erasmus scheme affect students ?

How will Brexit being finalized affect students on the Erasmus scheme?

On 31 December 2020, the U.K. transition period ended and new trading and political arrangements between Britain and the European Union (EU) came into force. One effect of this is the end of the U.K.’s participation in the Erasmus student exchange program that allowed thousands of students from universities across the EU and other participating countries to complete a portion of their studies at institutions in other member states.


How will this affect EU students currently completing courses in the U.K.?

The U.K. will continue to participate fully in the current (2014-2020) Erasmus and European Solidarity Corps (ESC) programs, meaning those who study, train, volunteer, or spend time abroad through Erasmus exchanges that were confirmed during that period can participate fully and for the full duration of their exchange - even if it continues beyond the U.K.’s exit from the scheme on 1 January 2021.


Do EU students need to apply for a student visa to remain in the U.K. to study on the Erasmus scheme?

If you arrived in the U.K. before 1 January 2021, you will not need a visa if your studies will only last six additional months or less, but you’ll need to apply online for Britain’s EU Settlement Scheme, which is free of charge. You should apply as soon as possible when you arrive in the U.K. and before 30 June 2021. If you plan to arrive in the U.K. from 1 January 2021 onwards, and/or you are studying a course that is longer than six months in length, you will need to apply for a student visa.


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Will I now have to pay fees to complete my studies in the U.K. under the Erasmus scheme?

As stated, those whose studies were arranged under the previous program will be able to complete their studies without paying additional fees. However, if you are planning to stay on to study longer than six months or are applying to study in the U.K. after the U.K.’s departure from Erasmus, you will need to pay for a student visa and health surcharge. These cost €391 (£348) and €528 (£470) per year respectively.


Will it still be possible to study in the U.K. after the end of the Erasmus scheme there?

Yes. But fees will no longer be covered as part of an exchange program. U.K. universities will also be free to charge EU students as they would other overseas students, rather than the same amount as tuition fees for U.K. students, as Brexit has resulted in the end of “home fee status” for EU students.


How will this affect U.K. students currently completing Erasmus courses in the EU?

U.K. students will be able to complete their courses awarded under the Erasmus scheme before Britain’s exit from it, and can receive funding up until the end of the 2021-22 academic year, but will have to deal with new immigration regulations.


British students will only be able to stay in an EU country for 90 out of every 180 days without a visa or will have to apply for a student visa via the country they are studying in, with the exception of Ireland, which will still have free movement with the U.K. Immigration rules vary from country to country, and you will need to check the specific rules and process to apply for the country you are studying in.


Will I now have to pay fees to study in the U.K. under the Erasmus scheme?

Those who are completing a course entered into under the Erasmus scheme will be able to continue their studies but may need to obtain a student visa from the country they are planning to study in. The end of “home fee status” means European universities are also free to charge British students as they would those coming to study from other non-EU countries.


Is the British government planning to replace or rejoin the Erasmus scheme?

The British government has announced that it will implement its own Turing student exchange program which it says will replicate the benefits of Erasmus, and be open to universities around the world, as Erasmus was. However, details are yet to be announced.


Frequently asked questions about Brexit and the end of the U.K.’s involvement in the Erasmus scheme

Will I need travel and medical insurance to study in the EU after Brexit?

Yes. Proving you are medically insured will be a condition of your visa. Although British citizens with a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) or a new Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) will be able to access medical services for free in the EU.


Will I need to move to study in another country participating in Erasmus if I am studying in the U.K?

No. Provided your exchange was already agreed before the U.K.’s exit at the end of 2020, your studies will be funded.


Might Britain return to the Erasmus scheme in the future?

With the announcement of plans for its own Turing scheme, albeit with little detail, it seems unlikely the U.K. will rejoin Erasmus in the near future. However, opposition politicians have indicated a desire to rejoin in the future.