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Cyprus seeks deal with Britain over higher tuition fees

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Cyprus hopes to strike a bilateral agreement with Britain, to allow Cypriot students to continue with their studies at English Universities without paying higher tuition fees from 2021.

Cypriot students will be paying higher tuition fees at British universities from 2021 and they will no longer have access to study loans post Brexit.

Foreign Minister Nikos Christodoulides and the Minister of Education Prodromos Prodromou briefed on Wednesday the House Committee on Education on the government’s efforts.

The British government decided to maintain tuition fees for all European students who are to enrol in the UK in 2020.

From 2021, students from the EU will be called to pay the higher tuition rate as all foreign students in the UK.

An issue of priority concerns prospective male Cypriot students who secured their university admission but have to defer for a year so they can complete their national service.

This category of students is at a disadvantage, as they are not able to start with their studies before 2021, due to the mandatory military service on the island.

A Ministry of Defence official told MPs it would be “impossible” to postpone their military service as it would impact the operational capacity of the National Guard.

Christodoulides said that the government aims at concluding a deal with the UK for all Cypriot students to have a single status in the long term.

Prodromou told the House Committee that prospective students with a conditional offer from a British University will be asked to notify the Ministry electronically.

“This will enable authorities to know the number of prospective male students who are affected due to military service,” said Prodromou.

“Together with the Foreign Minister, we are in consultation with our respective counterparts in Britain to secure a state of affairs that will allow Cypriot students to study in England with the existing tuition fees,” he added.

There will be also efforts to conclude bilateral agreements between Cypriot and British Universities, Prodromou said.

“We expect to conclude a satisfactory bilateral agreement with Britain, on the basis of our record of very positive and close relations between Cyprus and the UK.”