In the last full academic year, some 64,255 students from other EU countries enrolled at higher education institutions in England and Wales.
Annual government funding of university teaching averages £4,000 per student, so England and Wales spent £256 million last year to subsidise university education here in Britain for students from other EU member states. And even more money could go to European students under government plans to extend state funding for poor students at English universities to all EU citizens: any proposed discounts or fee waivers when the new higher fees come in would have to be open to EU students on an equal basis.
EU laws require the Scottish government to pay for EU students taking courses at its universities. The cost of their tuition fees and teaching subsidy has quadrupled in 10 years to £75 million a year.
Unlike students from England, Scottish students do not pay tuition fees. Instead Scotland’s government – funded with a block grant out of general British taxation – pays the money to the universities for them, £1,820 per student per year.
Students from the rest of Britain who attend Scottish universities have to pay Westminster-set tuition fees of more than £3,000 a year, but those from other EU countries have the same benefits as Scottish students. The number of EU students at Scottish universities has soared by 94 per cent since 2000-01, to 15,930 last year.