The number of Hungarian students studying in the UK has fallen dramatically since Brexit. The Hungarian Youth Association has launched a campaign across the EU: the SaveEUStudents initiative has been endorsed even by the European Parliament.
Brexit: changing rules and fees
The United Kingdom left the European Union on 1 January 2021, and since then, EU citizens have lost a number of benefits. Workers now have to comply with stricter residency rules, and they face a heavier administrative burden, which affects around 160,000 Hungarian citizens.
Young people were also affected by the exit: while the UK was a member of the EU, the maximum university tuition fee was £9250 (EUR 11,095), there was also a reduced student loan and no need for separate health insurance or a visa.
Since Brexit, however, they have either been discontinued or their costs are significantly higher. According to an older article on 444.hu, if a Hungarian student wants to study at a British university after Brexit, the tuition fees can range from 25,000 to 40,000 pounds (EUR 29,990-47,985). Another 348 pounds (EUR 417) for a visa is required, and one also has to pay for the Immigration Health Surcharge, which is an extra 470 pounds (EUR 564) compared to pre-Brexit time. Previously, the tuition fees could be covered in total by a student loan, which is now not available. On top of the already mentioned heavy expenditure, there are also the living costs.
Fewer Hungarian students in the UK
Soma Pirityi, co-director of the Hungarian Youth Association Ltd., told Napi.hu about the situation:
“There has been a dramatic fall in the number of students studying in the UK. While in the year 2020-2021, around 705 students were accepted out of around 1,100 applicants, in the 2021-2022 academic year only 450 students applied out of which 190 have been accepted, but eventually only 60 began their studies.”
As we can read in Napi.hu’s article, according to Bálint Karagich, co-director of the Hungarian Youth Association Ltd., this does not stop Hungarian students from looking for universities abroad:
instead of British universities, most students are now looking for opportunities in the Netherlands.
This is also due to the fact that the Dutch system was the quickest to respond to the situation with foreign language courses. Austrian, French and German universities are also on the frontline.
In response to the problem, the Hungarian Youth Association and the Federation of Polish Societies in the UK have launched a petition called SaveEUStudents. The campaign calls for the creation of a comprehensive EU-UK student mobility scheme to cover the tuition fees and living expenses of EU students, contribute to visa and travel costs, and provide an immigration health supplement. If implemented, this could help more than 170,000 European students.
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Source: Napi.hu, 444.hu
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