UK universities will lose cachet post-Brexit, EU students warn
"It's getting quite difficult to decide if the UK will be the place the best students are going to come," said Polish graduate Michal Gren, 23, who is considering applying for a master's degree in Britain.
"The answer is usually straight-up 'no'," said Haid, who is in the second year of a doctorate in sports engineering and is a student ambassador for the UK Council for International Student Affairs, an advisory body.
"We have the luxury of being EU citizens. We have so many good options instead," he said.
In his view, Britain's new regime is "not really a competitive offer."
"For sure, there will be unfortunately less European students, I'm afraid," agreed Laura Langone, 31, who is the third year of a philosophy doctorate at the University of Cambridge.
"I know many people who were discouraged from applying, people who will start their degree from September 2021."
"This number will drop by 75 percent, for sure," he said.
- 'Huge money' -
International tuition fees exceed £40,000 ($54,000, 44,300 euros) for degrees such as medicine.
The fee for a student visa is about £350 and about £500 to use the state-run National Health Service.
This is "huge money" for Poles, said Gren.
"From now on, not your academic potential and knowledge will decide whether you study in the UK but your financial background," said Frej, who is studying remotely from Warsaw to save money.
Some EU countries charge no tuition fees.
Langone, who comes from Basilicata, southern Italy, won a prestigious scholarship that covers her costs at Cambridge.
Her fear is that "people like me, after Brexit, will not be able to get this kind of support".
- Semesters abroad -
Haid said he chose Sheffield Hallam after a semester through Erasmus+, a EU-wide student exchange scheme. But it remains unclear whether Britain will still participate.
This potentially affects current applicants -- unsure whether a brief visit now would be qualify them for home or reduced fees.
Admissions officers are telling applicants they "don't know" and will have information in January, said Polish student representative Frej.
- Remote students -
The December 31 cut-off date also affects first-year students who began degrees remotely from their home countries due to Covid-19.
If they don't visit the UK this year but come later, they could fork out for student visas, international fees and a fee to use the NHS.
This affects "a few thousand" students, she estimated.
Her organisation, the3million, has urged the government to waive the visiting requirement for remote students.
"You can be extremely rigid and tough, or you can think: 'These are the probably the best and the brightest, so why not?'" Bohn said.