Hungarian Students Urge for Support As British Universities’ Tuition Fees Tenfold After Brexit

Budapest, Hungary – Liberty Bridge Szabadsag Hid at sunrise

Hungarian student organizations have launched a petition that aims to help around 170,000 European students studying in the United Kingdom.

The Hungarian Youth Association and the Federation of Polish Societies in the UK have initiated the petition called SaveEUStudents, which urges for a more comprehensive EU-UK student mobility scheme, and is endorsed by the European Parliament, Erudera.com reports.

More specifically, the petition calls for a scheme that helps EU students to handle tuition fees, living expenses, visa and travel costs, in addition to receiving immigration health aid.

Since the UK left the EU on January 1, 2022, the number of Hungarian and EU students, in general, has dropped significantly, keeping in mind an enhanced concern over tuition fees.

Before Brexit, the maximum university tuition fees reached £9,250 ($12,574), with the advantage of a reduced student loan and no expenditures related to health insurance or visas.

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According to an article by the local media in Hungary, the tuition fees in the UK now vary between £25,000 to £40,000 ($33,984-54,375), exempting additional costs like visa application ($473) and a fee to Immigration Health Surcharge, which is an extra $567 compared to pre-Brexit time. In addition, student loans previously at students’ disposal have been discontinued, leaving EU students in difficulty, on top of the UK’s high living costs.

“There has been a dramatic fall in the number of students studying in the UK. While in the year 2020-2021, around 705 students were accepted out of around 1,100 applicants, in the 2021-2022 academic year, only 450 students applied out of which 190 have been accepted, but eventually only 60 began their studies,” Soma Pirityi, Representative of the Hungarian Youth Association, told Napi.hu.

According to Bálint Karagich, co-director of the Hungarian Youth Association, Hungarian students shifted their interest to Dutch universities, which offer more foreign language courses, followed by Austrian, French, and German higher education institutions.

On the other hand, Dutch universities are planning to reduce the number of international students enrolled in a bid to maintain the quality of education and better manage the workload.

The request was announced by the Director of Universities of Netherlands (UNL), Pieter Duisenberg, who also urged politicians to provide additional options for universities to control the number of international students reaching the institution. Duisenberg believes that university student numbers will continue to rise in the coming years.

Last year, Dutch universities faced difficulties in accommodating students, as an increase of four percent has been noticed on new arrivals. 

Data by the Association of Universities in the Netherlands (VSNU) revealed that more than 340,000 students have registered at Dutch universities during the 2021/22 academic year.

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