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Clarity needed for EU students in Brexit transition

Universities UK has called for “urgent clarity” on the status of EU students during the Brexit transition period (2019-2020) and the UK’s long-term participation in EU research and exchange programs.

Universities UK has called for "urgent clarity" on the status of EU students during the Brexit transition period. Photo: Elionas2/Pixabay

UUK warned the UK higher education sector could be at risk of losing research funding and partnerships and experiencing “sudden, steep declines” in EU student enrolments

In a statement outlining policy priorities to ensure that UK universities remain competitive post Brexit, UUK said it welcomed the progress made on the phase one of the transition agreements, which brought clarity on EU citizens’ rights and on the UK’s participation in the Horizon 2020 and Erasmus+ until December 2020.

However, it pointed out that to bring “certainty and stability” for universities, the UK government should confirm that EU students will be eligible for home fee status and loans until the end of 2020 and for the duration of their course.

The statement also said the government should support the industry to increase awareness that the UK is participating in EU programs until the end of 2020.

“EU students are already asking about 2019 study, so it is crucial now that this is confirmed by governments across all parts of the UK”

President of Universities UK and vice-chancellor of the University of Liverpool Janet Beer said the phase one Brexit and transition agreements provide much needed certainty for the nearly 50,000 EU nationals working across UK universities, who are now clearer on what their post-Brexit rights will look like.

“It is important that these rights are enshrined in UK law as soon as possible. The staff make an immeasurably important contribution to the work of our universities,” said Beer.

“EU students are already asking about 2019 study, so it is crucial now that this is confirmed by governments across all parts of the UK.”

“Longer term, it is vital that the final Brexit deal secures UK participation, as a full associate country, in the next EU research innovation program and the successor Erasmus+ scheme,” Beer added.

A “firm commitment” to continued collaboration and exchange between the UK and the EU in higher education and research should be agreed through phase two, UUK’s statement continued.

This includes ensuring participation in Framework Programme 9, the successor to Horizon 2020, and the successor scheme to Erasmus+.

Without the government taking action, UUK warns, the UK higher education sector could be at risk of losing research funding and partnerships and experiencing “sudden, steep declines” in EU student enrolments.

 

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