Moving to a different country to study must be daunting at the best of times, let alone when there’s an ongoing political issue in the mix to add to the uncertainty. But students who want to start courses at UK or European universities in the next couple of years can now be sure that Brexit will not impact them.
There was a collective sigh of relief when Education Secretary Damian Hinds announced that students applying to UK and European universities for the 2018/19 and 2019/20 academic years will enjoy the same status (fees, support, employment rights etc) as in previous years. Pressure had been mounting on the Government, but the announcement in July 2018 appears to have allayed fears, for the short term at least.
As for the future, the Government will certainly want to avoid the political disaster that would be to make it ludicrously expensive for European students to study at UK universities, thus alienating them. These institutions are immensely proud of their continued ability to attract the brightest minds from Europe because of their world class standards; not only students but academics who take on research and tutoring positions. UK nationals will also be up in arms if it becomes more difficult to study in Europe, which is a much cheaper option for those who don’t want to pay such high tuition fees at home.
Access to the EU’s funding for academic research is also a political hot potato. Vital negotiations are on the horizon and the Government will face huge criticism if UK universities don’t get a share of the £89 billion pot after 2020.
All of this will depend on wider Brexit negotiations. It certainly looks as though maintaining the status quo will calm student groups who have been calling for a people’s vote on a final Brexit deal.
Are you starting university soon? We will be producing a guide to help you find out more about how Brexit will affect students in the coming years. In October we’ll be focusing more on student issues so you can use the forum, get answers to any questions you have and check our programme for what’s coming up.