International Fees Changes

UK tuition fees change for EU, EEA and Swiss citizens: Everything you need to know! Since the UK voted to leave the European Union in 2016, it was obvious that we would see changes to education. You can access the full statement here, let's break it down in full below.

Author: Carolina Paiva

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UK Tuition Fees Are Changing For EU, EEA, And Swiss Nationals: All You Need To Know!

Since the UK voted to leave the European Union in 2016, it was obvious that significant changes would be seen in upcoming years – some of these in education. On June 2020, the Minister of State for Universities published a statement briefly detailing what these changes were. You can access the full statement here,  but we’re going to give you a full breakdown below.

So, what are the UK tuition fee changes for EU, EEA, and Swiss nationals?

In a few words, instead of being considered a Home Student you’ll now be categorised under Overseas or International Student. This means that there are three main things you have to now consider when applying to study at a UK university:

For a course at Oxford, tuition fees will now vary between £26,770 and £37,510 – an increase of 189% and 305% respectively). For Cambridge the situation is very similar and tuition fees for international students will vary per course. For courses in Group 1 like Law (their lowest bracket), the university will charge £22,227 – which represents an increase of 140%. However, for courses such as medical and veterinary science which are included in Group 4 (their highest bracket), you will now be charged £58,038 – an increase of 527%. 


You can see which Group your course belongs to here. See the tables below for examples of these changes in key courses at Oxbridge.

Cambridge (Undergraduate)Annual Course Fees in £ ($)
Courses:Before 31st July 2021After 1st August 2021

9,250 (12,782)
58,038 (80,199)
Law22,227 (16,085)
Computer Science33,825 (46,740)
Economics & Management22,227 (16,085)
Oxford (Undergraduate)Annual Course Fees in £ ($)
Courses:Before 31st July 2021After 1st August 2021

9,250 (12,782)
35,380 (48,889)*
Law28,370 (39,202)
PPE28,370 (39,202)
Economics & Management31,230 (43,154)

*These fees are for pre-clinical years. Fees for later years have not been confirmed.


Other universities will have different fees so it’s important that you check the website of the university you’re applying to, to get the most accurate information.


When are The UK tuition fee changes happening?

In order to ensure a smooth transition, the UK has agreed on a specific date for the tuition fee changes to come into effect. The government has created a quite extensive document detailing these changes which you can access here, but we’ll include a summary below.


Students starting on or before 31st July 2021:

Students starting on or after 1st August 2021:

Are there exceptions to UK tuition fee changes post-Brexit?

Yes, there are. If you are an EU, EEA or Swiss national with pre-settled or settled status in the UK, the above changes do not apply to you. In simpler terms, if you were living in the UK prior to 31st December 2020 and have applied for pre-settled or settled status, you will still be categorised under Home Student.

Why are UK tuition fees changing?

With the UK leaving the European Union, the nation had to take a closer look at every single process conducted in accordance to the European Union laws and agreements. For the education sector, the UK decided that current arrangements were not beneficial for the country hence the tuition fee changes.

In order to understand why these changes were made, we’ll go into more detail and explain why fees are higher for international students in the first place.

There are two main factors to consider: the costs of delivering a course in the UK and who pays for Home Student’s fees. Universities in the UK are told by the government how much they can charge domestic students (currently this amount sits at £9250). This is valid for all universities. The issue with this rule – which benefits students the most – is that delivering a course does not cost £9250.

As such, universities are losing money with domestic students and use international fees to make up the difference in a process described as cross-subsidisation. Moreover, it wouldn’t be possible for the Student Loan Company to subsidise every student that wishes to study in the UK. This would simply not be economically viable.

As such, the rationale behind it is very simple: prioritise the education of Home Students since they are more likely to stay in the country and help the economy.

What sort of impact will UK tuition changes have on admissions?

It’s not clear yet how, or if, these changes will affect the admissions process. At first glance, it seems these changes will only result in a little added work to your application (for example applying for a student visa), however there are other factors to consider. 


For courses like medicine for example, the Higher Education Funding Council limits the number of international medical students admitted to a maximum of 7.5% across both the standard and graduate entry courses.


However, at the moment, there is no published information by Oxbridge, or other universities in regard to whether the number of allocated international places will change in the future for medical courses (or any other courses).


[The percentages of international students per university can be found here. This information can help accessing the level of competitiveness an international student will face when applying.]


If the number of places decrease, it would be safe to assume that competition would increase drastically amongst international students. At the same time, since EU students were used to the low tuition fee cap, they may not apply anymore – which results in less competition. This could also mean that domestic students might benefit and find it easier to apply to certain universities.


Unfortunately, this all speculation and we will have to wait until more information is available. We are monitoring the situation and we will ensure this page is updated accordingly.

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