Press releases and news


Consequences of Brexit and the UK's withdrawal from the Erasmus+ programme

UK to continue participation in Horizon Europe, but not Erasmus+
The good news is that the United Kingdom will continue to participate in Horizon Europe for the entire period from 2021 to 2027. The UK's financial contribution will consist of an operational contribution based on the UK's GDP, plus a participation contribution.

Unfortunately, the UK government has decided to withdraw from Erasmus+ as it considers the costs to be too great. We think this is a great shame and hope that the Dutch and British governments can agree an alternative exchange programme.

The UK only wished to participate in selected components of the programme, and the European Commission will not permit this. The British government has said that they are working on an alternative programme named the Turing Scheme, which will have room for 35,000 UK students. This programme will focus on exchanges with the whole world rather than just the EU.

Was the European Commission right to refuse the UK's participation in selected Erasmus components?
It is not illogical that the EC refused to allow partial participation by the UK. Third countries are permitted to join Erasmus, but they must participate in the whole programme and not specific parts. To ensure the programme works effectively, we must avoid cherry picking and strive to ensure maximum opportunities for all participants.

How many students have been impacted by this decision?
The latest data from Nuffic shows that in 2017, 806 students from Dutch universities went to the UK on a student exchange programme and 385 UK students came to the Netherlands. Figures for 2018 and later are not currently available. In the years prior to 2017, the number of Dutch exchange students going to the UK had fluctuated around the 800 mark, while the number of incoming exchange students from the UK had been rising from year to year.

Will the Dutch government organise an alternative programme?
The British government has announced the Turing Scheme as an alternative to the Erasmus+ programme and its aim in this regard is to conclude bilateral agreements. Whether the Netherlands will participate in this programme or set up its own programme is not yet known and the Lower House of Parliament has asked the cabinet to devote attention to this issue.

Abolition of free movement of people – consequences for work placements and mobility
As of 1 January 2021, the free movement of people between the EU and the UK will no longer be applicable. In concrete terms, this means that students and researchers who wish to stay in the UK for longer than six months will require a visa. For periods shorter than six months, no visa will be required. This will require people to participate in a variety of activities such as short study programmes, events and conferences. (Source: UK government)

Work placements
People who already lived in the UK prior to 31 December 2020 for the purposes of a work placement are covered under the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement. They are therefore permitted to continue living and working in the UK after the transitional period expires (as of 1 January 2021). However, these people must apply to the British government for a residence permit before 30 June 2021.

We do not yet know how many people are completing a work placement or doing fieldwork in the UK, although relatively speaking, there are few work placements in WO higher education. Nuffic is currently assessing the situation, so this data will be available in due course.

The Dutch central government, which is currently analysing the trade and collaboration agreement, indicates that no agreements have been made concerning work placements in the UK and that any news concerning such agreements will be published on its website as soon as it becomes available.

EU citizens who are temporarily staying in the UK can continue to use their European Health Insurance Card for any healthcare that they require (emergency or otherwise). For longer stays in the UK, they will be asked to pay a healthcare contribution as a condition of their entry visa.

Tuition fees
One of the consequences will be that EU students will have to pay the higher tuition fees applicable to international students in the UK. The amount of the fees is determined by the individual institutions where the study programme is conducted.

This is expected to result in a higher number of international students coming to Dutch education institutions due to the lower fees and high quality of education.

How many more students do you expect to arrive in the Netherlands due to the increase in UK tuition fees?
Last year, Maastricht University alone registered an increase of 18% in advance of Brexit. A 2020 survey of 2,500 EU citizens planning to take a Bachelor's or Master's degree in the UK showed that 49% would go to the Netherlands instead in the event that tuition fees in the UK proved too high. This shows that the Netherlands is the most popular destination for people who can't afford the UK's tuition fees. We do not yet have an indication of how many more students are expected to come to the Netherlands.  

Will the Netherlands be able to accommodate this surge in the number of international students?
The number of students at Dutch universities has been rising for years. Of course, this is a positive development, but the government investment per student to fund their tuition and guidance has not been increasing to the same extent. Without extra investment from the government, a surge in new students will take a toll on the lecturers and the students and affect the quality of WO education. For this reason, we have been advocating for greater investment in education and research for some time.

Consequences for Dutch students in the UK (source: Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science)
For the time being, nothing will change for Dutch students in the United Kingdom. The British government has indicated that UK tuition fees for the 2020/2021 academic year will not change as a result of Brexit. In principle, these tuition fees will remain the same for the entire duration of the programme. However, this does not apply to students starting a programme in 2021.

Student grants and loans for Dutch students in the UK
Brexit does not affect student grants and loans for Dutch students of higher education, as the issue of whether the student's programme is conducted inside or outside the EU is not relevant to these grants/loans.

Consequences for British students: student grants/loans and tuition fees (source: Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science)
British citizens can be grouped into several groups with different rights under the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement, from which they derive their rights concerning student grants/loans and statutory tuition fees. The accompanying table displays these different groups and their rights. Exceptions and exceptional circumstances can always apply that could result in a person belonging in a different category than is shown in the table, for example, if a British student has a Dutch parent or partner. For this reason, no rights can be derived from the information in the table below.

Consequences for British students with regard to funding: registration and degree certificate (source: Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science)
With regard to funding, different categories of Brits also apply – partly overlapping with the above categories – which determine the applicable rules governing the issue of funding. Once again, exceptions and exceptional circumstances can always apply that could result in a person belonging in a different category than is shown in the table. For this reason, no rights can be derived from the information in the table below.


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Ruben Puylaert


+316 13 86 10 69

Liselotte de Langen

Deputy spokesperson (Thursday)

+31 (0) 6 5171 0972