Support for students returning to Scotland from Europe will continue post-Brexit

Students returning to Scotland after studying in Europe will continue to be given support to pay for tuition fees and living costs after Brexit, the Scottish Government has announced.

Eligible UK nationals returning to study in Scotland from the EU, the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland will be able to access the support for seven years after the UK’s exit.

It means those affected will retain the same rights as they currently have under EU rules, including eligibility for further and higher education student support, and access to apprenticeships.

The seven-year period would begin on exit day in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

If the UK leaves the EU with a deal, the period will commence at the end of the Brexit transition period.

Further Education Minister Richard Lochhead said: “This guarantee will provide a level of reassurance and stability to UK nationals who may be considering returning to Scotland to study in the near future.

“Those who left the UK to live in the EU, EEA and Switzerland will have done so on the understanding that under EU rules they would retain the same rights to access education as citizens who remained in the UK.

“We are committed to protecting the rights of such people to access educational support and today’s announcement will deliver that protection.”

A spokeswoman for Colleges Scotland, said: “We welcome the Scottish Government’s commitment to ensuring that people returning to Scotland will be eligible for funding to enable them to study at college for an extended period of seven years after Brexit.

“Student support funding is vital in helping many people access high-quality courses and apprenticeships that lead to recognised qualifications and allow them to progress towards employment and their future careers.

“We want to see all students succeed at college, regardless of their personal circumstances or background.”