A total of 522 incoming army recruits have informed the Education Ministry that they are either candidates for or have secured a spot at a UK university for the 2020-21 academic year, but who plan to defer their offer until the following year, when home fee status and loans for EU students will be scrapped, due to their 14-month military service requirement.
Earlier this month, the Education Ministry issued a call for all male high school graduates who secured an offer for a position at a UK university and who are set to begin their military service this year to submit their details, allowing the Cyprus government to enter negotiations with the UK with concrete figures.
On Tuesday, Education Minister Prodromos Prodromou held a teleconference with the UK’s Minister of State for Universities Michelle Donelan, in view of briefing her on the conundrum faced by young Cypriot males who are interested in continuing their studies in the UK.
Prodromou reminded Donelan that the UK is one the primary destinations chosen by Cyprus students for further education, and informed her that the Cyprus government aims to secure a bilateral relation with the UK that would maintain home fee status and loans for Cypriot students.
Male graduates of Cyprus secondary schools are posing a particularly tough dilemma for the local government, as protocol requires them to complete a 14-month military service before heading off to university.
As such, male graduates who are offered a position at a university, in the UK or elsewhere, typically defer their offer for a year in order to complete their military service before attending university.
But in light of the UK’s decision, 2020 army recruits who secured a position at a UK university will be faced with much higher fees if they defer their offer until 2021.
Donelan assured the Cyprus Education Minister that the island’s proposal will be passed on to the relevant university bodies, on which the decision regarding foreign students ultimately relies.