A recent report by the Universities UK reveals that under a no deal Brexit, approximately 17,000 UK students would miss the chance to partake in the Erasmus study aboard scheme next year.
The UK government had previously specified it wanted to remain in the Erasmus+ programme in the future, if agreed by the EU. However, Universities UK suggests no further support would be provided in the event of a no deal Brexit.
Students currently studying overseas will continue to be supported with the Erasmus+ scheme, but there is no assurance for students planning to study abroad for the forthcoming years.
The Erasmus exchange scheme has been operating from the 1980s. The programme provides students the opportunity to study in another European country for three to 12 months, as a part of their degree.
A report from Universities UK found that students who study abroad are 19% more likely to achieve a 1st class degree, 20% less likely to be unemployed and 10% more likely to have jobs after six months of graduation.
According to Alistair Jarvis, the chief executive of Universities UK: “An investment in international experience for our students now is an investment in the future of our economy. Without the international opportunities offered through schemes like Erasmus, the UK’s workforce will not be equipped to meet the changing needs of the economy post-Brexit.”
“In the case of a no-deal Brexit, I strongly urge the government to commit to continue funding study abroad opportunities for UK students, even if the UK cannot negotiate continued participation in Erasmus+ programme.”
Universities UK has launched the national #StudySupportAbroad campaign calling on the government to find alternative funding for study abroad opportunities in the case of a no deal Brexit.
The campaign gained momentum on social media, with many directly mentioning Damian Hinds, the Education Secretary, and Chris Skidmore, the universities minister to initiate a UK-backed equivalent scheme.
Professor Chris Day, the Vice-Chancellor of Newcastle University has been in contact with all students on 6th February via email regarding international collaborations after Brexit.
Day said: “Our international community, representing many countries from the EU and further afield, is a vital part of who we are as a University and we value immensely the contribution that you all make. We will continue to create an environment in which international research and educational collaborations continue and encourage staff and students to be mobile and international in our outlook.”