Overall, the students themselves tended to vote remain with many in academia following suit. After the results this morning, Megan Dunn, President of NUS stated that the outcome was ‘disappointing’. Later that day, a letter was written by several representatives of the NUS to David Cameron opposing the result, however, by this time he had stepped down as Prime Minister. Yet, now the vote has been cast it is obvious that this historic event will shape the outcome of Britain and Europe but how will it affect Students and the Education sector?
For students from other countries in the EU there will be no immediate change. Only when Article 50 is activated and negotiations begin between all the sides will there be a definitive indication as to what is likely to occur. However, due to the fact that David Cameron has chosen to step down and there is unlikely to be a new Prime Minister until October it is very unlikely to be any time soon. This goes the same for the any foreign staff that work at universities or in academia.
Similarly, this is the case with UK students who are currently studying inside of the EU. No changes will occur until Britain decides to officially leave the EU, however a lot of questions have been raised by students who wish to travel as part of their degree in the next few years. Most students who do decide to travel to the EU to study belong to the Erasmus programme which offers funding, covers medical costs and insurance etc. However, despite it being unofficially attached to the EU, you do not have to be a member in order to participate in this program. For example, Norway and Switzerland are both under this scheme, although Switzerland’s membership is currently in question due to political issues. Therefore, there is no official reason why the UK cannot still take part. However, in order to take part without being a member of the EU there are some costs involved so if the UK does decide not to participate it is likely that UK based travel grants will be increased in order to help with the extra costs.
Money is the next big question on everyone’s lips. In terms of individual student loans for UK students there doesn’t appear to be any change linked to the EU as of yet. However, in terms of wider academia some areas are support via Brussels with around £1 billion a year in non-repayable aid. Yet, this money is likely to be replaced by grants by the government once we officially leave the EU but like with most things about this debate, it is unclear if this will happen and how much money these departments should expect compared to before. Dr Piatt stated in a recent interview that she did not expect funding to be replaced. Some Russell Group Universities have stated ‘£73 billion is generated by Universities and put into the UK economy, £3.7 billion from EU students’ so a leave vote will negatively impact the economic value of British universities. But, it is important to note that just like UK students, EU students who choose to study in the UK are also entitled to the same £9,000 a year loan. Some campaigners have argued that once article 50 is invoked that this is likely to change and the money saved by this could be put into other areas.
Currently, EU regulations mean there are some restrictions on the education sector which, when we leave will be revoked. This would result in the UK being able to have more freedom in regards to teaching and researching. In turn, this creates a wider choice of courses and subjects available and allow the UK to advance academically as it begins to branch out in terms of research. However, like the point above states this could be at the consequence of the loss of funding and grants which are still unclear if they will be replaced.
The UK will continue to be a member of the European University Association which is currently formed by 850 universities in 47 countries. On the announcement of the final Leave decision the EUA released a statement saying that UK universities are ‘still an essential part of the European family of universities’ which bodes well in terms of securing things such as the Erasmus scheme etc.
However, when it comes to graduates jobs one spokesperson stated that ‘half of the top UK graduate employers will cut recruitment in the case of a Brexit result’. Though, some have argued that this statement was merely a political tactic and that many employers will not follow this course of action. Yet, at a time where unemployment among the newly graduated is high this is not what many wanted to hear.
Overall, regardless of whether you voted in or out, it is clear that this decision will have a big impact on students and universities across the country although it is yet clear exactly what these effects may be. With cuts in funding imminent but proposed saving through student loans, there are a number of arguments and ideas floating around but, until article 50 is activated no changes will occur in the UK.
Here are the websites I used-http://www.independent.co.uk/student/news/eu-referendum-result-brexit-leave-remain-higher-education-sector-students-a7100106.html
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