Nope, or at least not as far as I know...
I've tried it with a few banks but they would only give me a normal account. Which is what I'm having now. It's not that bad really, it's still free only with a student account you get a free overdraft, which you don't have with a normal account.
I'm at natwest, which is alright. I don't have to pay for my account which you do have to do at santander for example. However, I can only take out money at atms from RBS, tesco and natwest.
At the risk of hijacking the thread, what about the same situation with a bit of a spin - I'm also an EU student starting a funded PhD in October, but I've been around for 18 months. That will add up to about 2 years when the PhD starts, which is still a year short of the seemingly standard 3-year residency rule.
I've read some old threads where people managed to get them the bank to be a little flexible, but nothing as of late. Any clues as to whether that might still be the case?