Male students serving in the army this year, who will lose their home fee status at British universities because of a fee hike from 2021, should discuss enrolling under current terms with the universities of their choice, a joint statement by the education and foreign affairs ministries said on Wednesday.
Though the education ministry was hoping to make a special agreement with the UK for all the roughly 500 young men concerned, the UK government said it is not in the position to make an exception for Cyprus, as it would discriminate against other EU countries.
The British government recently announced that from September 2021 all EU students will lose their ‘home’ fee status which means they will no longer pay £9,250 a year, regardless of the course they study. British government-backed loans from Student Finance England will also no longer be available. Depending on university and the course, annual fees could be at least double.
This year’s female graduates, meanwhile, will start their first year at university this autumn when the existing fee structure will still apply, while the boys who must serve 14 months in the army cannot take their places at university until 2021.
After consultation with the British government it was decided that each student should approach their university individually while the universities have been encouraged to be flexible by the British government.
The ministries announced that after the Universities UK (UUK) – the international body representing UK universities and acting in their collective interests worldwide – discussed the fee issue with its members it was decided universities did not have the capacity to consider a generalised approach, at a national level, to postponing the implementation of the new tuition policy for next year.
But the announcement made clear that all is not lost, and many students can find ways of avoiding the higher fees depending on the university and course they choose.
“Some universities have already announced that they will implement a … policy for Cypriot students to suspend tuition fees for one year,” the ministries’ joint statement said, quoting the British authorities.
“Some universities are considering financial support packages that may be offered to prospective students on a case-by-case basis and others may be reluctant to suspend the new tuition policy, depending on the circumstances.”
And, according to a survey by the Independent Higher Education Agency more than half intend to continue to charge the same tuition for international students as for UK students.
UUK said that there is a range of tuition fees for international students and that for some study programmes at different universities, there may not be much difference between these and the tuition fees available for British students.
“Therefore, UUK would encourage candidates to consider the curricula and universities they are interested in order to decide which is the best place for their studies. Those interested can consult the UUK member universities for information at the following link:
“Universities, colleges and institutions that offer specialised study programmes are all open to consider requests from students seeking to maintain the 2020 tuition fee for another year and to suspend the implementation of the new tuition policy. The Independent HE encourages candidates who have a current offer to offer or plan to apply for a position through the clearing process to apply to universities, colleges or other specialised institutions. Some [higher education] providers intend to offer tuition or scholarship exemptions. However, many others have not yet confirmed their approach to 2021 and so are unable to make public statements on the matter.”
The UUK also said the higher education sector has a set of scholarships for students from EU countries, which can be used at any university participating in this project.
“There will also be a list of universities, colleges or specialised institutions that offer specific scholarships to students from EU countries. Such scholarship arrangements, without specifically addressing Cyprus, are also open to Cypriot students.”
The Independent HE also stated that it would provide, as soon as possible, a list of members and tuition fees they intend to apply in the academic year 2021-22, as well as a list of its member institutions that will provide tuition reductions.
“The collection of this information is ongoing.”
The list of Independent HE members can be found here: