The Welsh Government welcomes international students to Wales and recognises and respects the important contribution they make, not least in opening Wales to the world. We are also committed to continue to enable the people of Wales to study abroad.
The UK Government has announced that it will cease providing support for EU nationals and their family members after the end of the EU transition period in December of this year. Those starting courses at English educational establishments on or after 1 August 2021 will no longer be eligible for student support or home fee status. The Scottish Government has also announced that it will no longer provide support to EU students from 2021/22.
In line with this and reflecting the fact that student finance arrangements involve complex inter-dependencies with rules set by the UK Treasury, the Welsh Government will cease providing equivalent support for EU nationals and their family members as for Welsh domiciled students. Students who begin a course of higher or further education on or after 1 August 2021 will not be eligible for support or, in the case of higher education courses, home fee status.
Students who have already started or who start courses before 1 August 2021 will continue to be eligible for support and home fee status for the duration of their course.
The Welsh Government intends to provide support for those who will benefit from citizens’ rights (‘Settled Status’) under the EU Withdrawal Agreement. The Welsh Government also intends to support Irish nationals under the Common Travel Area arrangement.
This statement is being issued during recess in order to keep Members informed. Should Members wish me to make a further statement or to answer questions on this when the Senedd returns I would be happy to do so.