Changes to EU student tuition fee arrangements - message to students and staff

Changes to EU student tuition fee arrangements - message to students and staff

A message to students and staff from Professor George Boyne, Principal and Vice-Chancellor.

Dear students and staff,

You may already be aware of the announcement by the Scottish Government that EU students beginning their studies at Scottish universities in 2021/22 and thereafter will no longer qualify for tuition fee support.

Following this announcement, I want to reassure our current EU students that your tuition fees will continue to be funded, as they are currently, by the Scottish Government for the duration of your studies.  It is also important to highlight that undergraduate EU students starting in September 2020 will also have their tuition fees paid for the duration of their degree study at the University of Aberdeen, while postgraduate students will still qualify for a tuition fee loan.

The news from the Scottish Government on the fee status for EU entrants from 2021 came in its Coronavirus Further and Higher Education Sustainability Plan.

In addition to the points above, the Scottish Government has stated that:

  • Scottish institutions will charge new EU students international fees from academic year 2021/22.

  • For academic year 2021/22, any resources released from the change in approach to EU student fees will remain within the college and university sectors, including to support additional Scottish students.  Part of this resource will be used to support the establishment of scholarships for EU students to continue to welcome them to Scotland.

  • Future arrangements for Irish students for academic year 2021/22 under the Common Travel Area will be confirmed by the Scottish Government in due course, as this is subject to ongoing discussion between the UK and Irish Governments.

This is clearly a significant policy change, so I want to reassure our community of European students and staff that our commitment to you – and to our European connections – remains undiminished. I was pleased to see within the Scottish Government’s plan an intention for collective actions to continue to attract EU and international students to Scotland.  We will give serious consideration to our own scholarship arrangements for EU students as these national plans are developed.

With the highest proportion of EU students of any UK university, we are a truly European university with a global outlook, that is open to people and ideas from around the world. 

Our Aberdeen 2040 strategy makes clear our commitment to providing an international education to our students, ensuring they can have an international experience through exchange or working collaboratively with partners.

It is not yet clear if the UK will continue to participate in the Erasmus programme beyond 2021/22, but we remain committed to our exchange links within Europe and will continue to support students and staff in undertaking European activities.

On research, we remain committed to forming global partnerships and networks to meet the challenges of our age. We will continue to be pro-active as we strengthen our EU academic research connections, seeking out partners of the highest academic calibre.

Likewise, we will seek out new and strengthened partnership arrangements with EU universities to facilitate continuing student and staff mobility opportunities, in addition to the numerous bilateral arrangements with EU partners already in place.

There may be financial implications for the University as a result of the change in fee status for EU students, and it will take time for the impact of that to become fully clear. We will align our student recruitment and marketing efforts accordingly, and work with our current EU students, alumni and academic staff to promote our courses and programmes to prospective EU students, in addition to those in Scotland, the other UK nations and the rest of the world.

Our dedicated Brexit web pages provide further information for students and staff on our response to the UK’s departure from the EU, including dedicated FAQs covering matters such as the EU Settlement Scheme and research funding. 

Our connections to Europe date back to our very foundation in 1495, and we’ll continue to cherish these links which have been a major factor in our success.

Best wishes,


Professor George Boyne
Principal and Vice-Chancellor

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