Birkbeck and the European Union

Birkbeck and the European Union

On 29 March 2017, Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty was triggered, starting the process for the UK to leave the European Union (EU).

The process will not happen quickly: there will be a gradual exit over at least two years. Meanwhile, the UK remains a full member of the EU and will continue to fulfil its obligations, and Birkbeck is committed to working to ensure that the interests of our EU applicants and students are protected.

Can I talk to someone about this?

  • If you are a student or a prospective student and would like to talk to someone in person about how the UK leaving the EU might affect you, please contact the Student Advice Centre. To talk to a current EU or international student, or to arrange a face-to-face meeting with the International Office, please .
  • Are you currently in the EU? To find out when a representative will be visiting your country, please check the international events calendar.
  • If you are a staff member, please talk to your manager in the first instance. Our HR staff will be ready to support managers in resolving queries and issues as they arise.

Tuition fees

  • I am an EU student already enrolled on a course at Birkbeck - what does this mean for me? The result of the referendum will have no effect on your fees. You will be charged the Home student fee for the duration of your course. Find out about fees and funding for undergraduates and postgraduates.
  • I am thinking of enrolling in 2018-19 - will the tuition fees be changed in my first year or subsequent years? EU students who register at Birkbeck in 2018-19 (either as a new or continuing student) will be charged the Home student fee for the duration of their course. Find out about fees and funding for undergraduates and postgraduates.
  • I had a place for 2017/2018, but I deferred my entry until 2018/2019. Will my tuition fees be affected? Birkbeck will not change the already published tuition fees for EU students. EU students who register at Birkbeck in 2018/2019 (either as a new or continuing student) will be charged the Home student fee for the duration of their course. Find out about fees and funding for undergraduates and postgraduates.

Student loans

  • I am an EU student already enrolled on a course at Birkbeck - will I be able to access a loan for the rest of my course? You will be able to access tuition fee loans for the duration of your course. EU nationals or their family members, currently in higher education or who have applied for a place at university in August 2018 to study a course that attracts student support, and who are assessed as eligible to receive loans and/or grants from the Student Loans Company, will continue to receive these loans and grants until they finish their course. Find out more on the Student Loans Company website.
  • I had a place for 2017/2018 but I deferred my entry until 2018/2019 - will I be able to access a student loan? Yes, the government has decided that EU students starting their course in 2018/2019 will still have access to student loans. EU students who have been living in the UK for at least five years and studying full-time undergraduate courses will also be able to access maintenance loans for as long as we remain a part of the EU and, after that, it depends on what the government decides. There will be, at least, a two-year negotiation process before the UK leaves the EU, during which time the terms of the exit will be decided. We would advise you to enrol this year if possible, to secure access to current student finance.
  • I am an EU student thinking of enrolling on a postgraduate course in 2018/2019. Will I be able to access a loan? If you are an EU national who has been living in the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland for at least three years before the start of your course, you are eligible to apply for a postgraduate loan of up to £10,000 if you are starting a course in 2018. Apply now for the postgraduate loan through Student Finance England.

Student experience

  • Will I still feel welcome at Birkbeck now that the UK is leaving the EU?
    • Students from over 120 countries study at Birkbeck, attracted to our vibrant academic community in central London. London is the most diverse, welcoming city in the world and voted overwhelmingly in favour of remaining in the EU. By studying in London, you will establish a network of friends from across the EU and beyond that will last a lifetime.
    • At Birkbeck, we believe diversity is about valuing the differences between people and recognising the strengths and benefits of a diverse, inclusive society, workforce and student body. On its own, diversity does not ensure equality of opportunity, but valuing diversity, promoting inclusiveness and tolerance of difference will help us to achieve this.
    • Birkbeck is committed to providing the highest quality academic and working environment, where all staff, students, visitors and contractors are employed, welcomed, respected and treated in a consistent and non-discriminatory manner. Read our Equal Opportunity and Diversity Statement.
  • Will the UK leaving the EU affect my accommodation options? This does not affect where you will be able to live during your studies at Birkbeck. There are several options available to you, including halls of residence and private accommodation. Find out more about accommodation options.

Erasmus grant

  • Am I still eligible? You will continue to be eligible for the Erasmus grant at least as long as we remain a member of the EU if you are:
    • an EU student currently on an Erasmus placement at Birkbeck
    • a home student currently on an Erasmus placement in another EU country
    • an EU staff member currently on an Erasmus placement at Birkbeck
    • a UK staff member currently on an Erasmus placement in another EU country.
  • Are non-EU staff members employed by Birkbeck eligible for Erasmus? Triggering Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty begins a two-year negotiation process between the UK and other Member States, during which time the terms of the UK’s exit from the European Union will be decided. Participation in the Erasmus programme and access to grants may continue after the UK has exited the EU, depending on the terms decided.

Visas / immigration status

  • How will the UK leaving the EU affect my immigration status? In March 2017, Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty was triggered and a two-year negotiation process between the UK and the other Member States was begun. During this two-year process, the terms of the UK’s exit from the European Union will be decided. In the meantime, there is no change to the immigration status of:
    • EU students currently enrolled on a course at Birkbeck
    • EU staff currently employed on temporary or permanent contracts at Birkbeck
    • EU students planning to enrol at Birkbeck in 2017-18
    • EU students planning to enrol at Birkbeck in 2018-19
    • EU students/staff currently on Erasmus placements at Birkbeck in 2016-17
    • Birkbeck students/staff currently on Erasmus placements in another EU country in 2016-17.

Working in the UK

  • How will the UK leaving the EU affect my right to work in the UK during my studies? EU students will continue to have the right to work during their studies for as long as we remain a part of the EU and following that until the Government decides otherwise. Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty foresees a two-year negotiation process between the UK and the other Member States, during which time the terms of the UK’s exit from the European Union will be decided.
  • As an international visa holder, will the UK leaving the EU affect my visa? It is unlikely that those who currently hold valid visas to study or remain in the UK will be affected. Usually, changes to the law occur after the event and do not apply to decisions or circumstances retrospectively. If any future changes were to occur, then this would happen after a minimum period of two years after Article 50 is triggered. During this time the UK would continue to implement EU treaties and laws and negotiate terms for the future.

Research funding

  • I hold an EU research grant: how will this be affected? The UK’s status as a full participating member of the Horizon 2020 programme has not changed as a result of the UK's decision to leave the EU. Existing project grants and contracts will be honoured unless or until advised otherwise. Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty foresees a two-year negotiation process between the UK and the other Member States, during which time the terms of the UK’s exit from the European Union will be decided.

EU collaborations

  • I participate in EU-funded networks as part of my research: how will my participation be affected? EU-funded networks will continue to exist until advised otherwise. At this early stage, like all UK universities, we cannot know exactly how the many connections our university has with the EU will be affected in the long term, but Birkbeck remains committed to our EU and international partnerships.