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Cyprus seeks UK deal to solve post-Brexit student woes

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Cyprus is intensifying efforts to strike a bilateral agreement with Britain that allows thousands of Cypriot students to study at English Universities without paying higher tuition fees from 2021.

Education Minister Prodromos Prodromou had the opportunity to discuss the matter with British Minister of State for Universities at the Department of Education Michelle Donelan.

The issue arose after the UK government decided to end privileges enjoyed by EU students from the academic year 2021-2022 while allowing each university to set their own tuition fees.

Essentially this means Cypriot students lose their home student status and will be paying higher tuition fees at British universities from 2021 and will no longer have access to study loans post-Brexit.

Earlier this month, Donelan said: “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.”

UK and EU nationals currently pay tuition fees of up to £9,250 (€10,200) per year for an undergraduate degree.

The fees for international students vary from between £10,000 (€11,000) and £38,000 (€41,900) depending on the university and the degree.

According to the Education Ministry, Prodromou suggested that, given the large number of Cypriot students who choose to study in the UK every year, the two countries should reach a bilateral agreement which will allow the same conditions currently in place to continue for Cypriot students.

At any given time, there are around 9-10,000 Cypriot students studying at a UK university.

Another issue arose involving male graduates who have to postpone their studies to do national service.

Male students who completed their schooling this year, will not be able to enrol at UK universities due to their obligation to serve their 14- month military service in the National Guard.

These students will not be able to enrol at UK universities in the new academic year at the lower tuition fee with a loan as their female counterparts.

Prodromou pointed out that around 522 candidates are in the process of registering or already have offers from universities.