How will Brexit Affect UK Universities


Brexit has rattled stock markets around the world, led to the devaluation of Sterling and given rise to speculations about the UK’s position in the world. For UK universities and the Education Agents that work for them the big question is how will Brexit affect the UK’s image as a destination country for international students.

Following the Brexit, the EU-UK equation is bound to undergo an overhaul. The changes are sure to have an impact on UK universities and the international students studying or planning to study in England.

The separation is likely to result in a massive financial loss to UK universities. EU students in the UK generate £3.7 billion (US$5.25 billion) for the British economy, as per Universities UK. Many EU students choose to study in UK because they enjoy same facilities as domestic students such as equal fees and availability of the same financial aid.

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In addition, many European students studying in the UK are financially backed up by the Erasmus+ programme, the hefty European Union scholarship fund. Erasmus scholars may opt to join universities in other countries if they lose the facilities they had been enjoying at UK universities.

On top of that, students enrolled in UK universities are likely to have reduced access to European education institutions and their resources such as research facilities, collaborative studies and faculty expertise.

All these factors might contribute to making the UK less appealing destination not just for EU students but also students from other regions. That might compromise the UK’s position as a leading destination country in the years ahead.

But Brexit’s long-term and less visible effect would be a psychological one. The UK’s decision to stay out of the EU sends the message that it is not as welcoming of foreigners as Australia and Canada; the two countries have been making serious efforts to make themselves appealing destinations for international students.

For example, Australia’s growing position in the international education market has often been attributed to the UK’s restrictive immigration and post-study work policies.

At a time when several developed countries around the world are pushing for more internationalization and diversity, Britain seems to be moving in the opposite direction.

The UK government must now lend an ear to industry experts and stakeholders to figure out ways to limit Brexit’s impact on the country’s higher education sector.