Press release

Follow Australia-New Zealand example on fee reciprocity for EU students post-Brexit, says MillionPlus

26 Jul 2018

In a policy paper published today (26 July), MillionPlus, the Association for Modern Universities, has called on the government to follow the example of Australia-New Zealand and the Nordic countries in committing to reciprocity on university fee levels for UK and EU students both during and after the Brexit implementation period.
The MillionPlus paper, EU students: securing the best opportunities for students, universities and the UK economy post-Brexit, makes a recommendation to the government on the Brexit Treaty negotiations:

  • The UK government should commit to reciprocal student exchange as part of its new relationship with the EU. Anyone from an EU nation enrolling at a UK university should be guaranteed a new ‘European student status’ reflecting similar terms to home UK students concerning university fee levels. These terms would be reciprocated by EU nations for UK students studying on the continent who would also pay the local fee, not revert to full ‘international student’ status.

The benefit to the UK of EU students studying in UK universities has been formally recognised in parliament, with Tom Brake MP tabling an Early Day Motion to that effect on 16 July.
Professor Dave Phoenix, Chair of MillionPlus and Vice-Chancellor of London South Bank University, said:
“The government’s recent White Paper suggested an encouraging direction of travel around student mobility. As we move closer to our exit from the European Union, our world-class universities and prospective students in EU27 countries and the UK deserve to know where they stand from 2020.
“EU students who study at UK universities bring with them immense benefits to our country and our economy. In addition to the estimated £5.1bn these students generate for the economy we must factor in the wider educational and cultural contribution they make, on which it would be impossible to put a price. The lack of reference to mutual EU student fee recognition in the Brexit White Paper is highly concerning and a gaping hole in Britain’s plans to exit the EU, potentially hitting hard the important two-way flow of students.
“As other regional reciprocal arrangements in Australasia and Scandinavia show, this is about common sense cooperation, not Brexit politics. The government should seek a Brexit agreement, or an agreement during the implementation period, aimed at a reciprocally beneficial relationship for UK students studying in the EU and EU students studying here. This would be a win-win outcome for both sides.
“This will ensure that UK higher education remains competitive and attractive and that the UK can continue to attract the over 130,000 EU students currently enrolling at our universities each year.”
Dr Caroline Perkins, Executive Director of Australia’s Regional Universities Network, said:
"Having specific agreements between some nations on reciprocal student fee arrangements just makes sense.

"Based on the close relationship between Australia and New Zealand and our similar higher education systems, our fees agreement, which allows students from each country to study in the other under domestic fee arrangements, has been mutually beneficial. The universities of the Regional Universities Network have benefited from New Zealand students studying at our campuses, and contributing to our communities. The arrangement has reinforced the link between our nations.”
Notes to editors

  1. For further information or to arrange an interview, please contact Dan Blows on 020 7717 1658 or email
  2. EU students: securing the best opportunities for students, universities and the UK economy post-Brexit is attached to this email and is available online here
  3. Early Day Motions (EDMs) are motions submitted for debate in the House of Commons for which no day has been fixed. EDMs are used to put on record the views of individual MPs or to draw attention to specific events or campaigns. Early Day Motion 1526 states: That this House recognises the immense benefits to the UK of EU students studying at UK universities; welcomes the educational and wider community contribution these students bring; further welcomes the net economic benefit of each EU student studying in the UK at £68,000 per student and the estimated £5.1 billion they generate for the UK economy; and calls on the Government to negotiate a post-Brexit agreement with the EU on student fee levels aimed at a reciprocal and mutually beneficial relationship for UK students studying in the EU and EU students studying in the UK, and to ensure that UK higher education remains highly competitive and attractive so that the UK can continue to attract, and increase, the over 130,000 EU students currently enrolled at UK universities each year.
  4. Much as the EU nations have, other parts of the world realise that there are enormous benefits to making student exchange across border easy and attractive. In addition to the Australia-New Zealand example, Canada and the US have preferential treatment, Norway waives visas for Scandinavian students, and ASEAN nations in Southeast Asia are moving in the direction of greater student exchange, with programmes set up with universities in those nations
  5. MillionPlus is the Association for Modern Universities in the UK, and the voice of 21st century higher education. We champion, promote and raise awareness of the essential role and impact of modern universities in the UK’s world-leading higher education sector. More information can be found at
  6. What are modern universities? Modern universities are long established centres of higher education in their communities with roots that stretch back decades, if not centuries. Many gained university title following legislation agreed by parliament in 1992. They make up almost half of the UK university sector with over a million students studying at modern universities every year.
  7. Modern universities: key facts 2018

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