How would Brexit impact higher education?
University leaders and some Conservative MPs have been warning for months over the potentially ‘damaging’ effects for higher education if the UK voted for Brexit.
They argue the move could mean the UK would lose out on research funding granted by the EU.
This could also mean academics struggle to cooperate on research projects.
Would there be any positives?
Yes - some.
Demand for higher education is so high that even if fewer EU students came to study here, universities would be no worse off financially and would be able to offset the drop with home students.
In fact, those institutions with dwindling numbers of EU students could make up the numbers with UK students and even increase their numbers now that the quotas on the number of students they can take has been lifted, leaving them with more money in the bank.
A drop in EU students, who would be financially worse off as a result of a hike in fees, would mean UK students can increase their chances of getting into university.
Universities might also be able to avoid EU regulations on clinical trials, which some argue has a damaging effect on research and innovation.
Would EU students still be able to study in the UK?
Research has suggested exiting the EU could lead to a decline in the number of EU students coming to study here because they would be recruited as international students, which would mean their fees would go up substantially.
"There’s a really strong feeling that it would be hugely problematic if we left the EU and we would be a weaker sector as a result," said Alistair Jarvis of Universities UK – the vice-chancellors' group.
In 2012-2013, 5.5 per cent of students studying in the UK were from EU countries, generating £2.27 billion for the UK economy and generating 19,000 jobs in local communities, according to Universities UK.
What about the impact of Brexit on British university students?
Academics have warned the UK would be in an ‘insular’ position if it was to leave the EU, leaving home students less exposed to other cultures.
Dame Julia Goodfellow, vice-chancellor at the University of Kent, said: "For UK students, studying and living with students from a variety of cultures around the world is incredibly beneficial."
What about Erasmus?
Academics have also warned that Brexit would restrict movement of UK students.
Over 200,000 British students have benefited from the Erasmus exchange programme, which provides funds for undergraduates to travel to EU countries to study as part of their degree.
According to Nigel Carrington, vice-chancellor of the University of the Arts, London, leaving the EU would make this travel a lot harder.
"We’ve had a 50 per cent increase in the number of our students going abroad to study under the Erasmus programme over the last three years," he said.
"Obviously, they can do this because of the funding that is available through the EU’s Erasmus programme. Without Erasmus we would have major problems in terms of enabling our students to study overseas."
Source: The Telegraph
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