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Education in times of #Brexit

Great Britain decided to step out of the European Union. What does this mean for the British universities and study candidates?

The news that the majority of the voters in the Brexit referendum opted for exiting the EU raised a lot of concerns among young people looking to pursue their education in Great Britain. While it is still unclear what will follow, we have summed up the most important aspects so far:

On June 23, 52% of the referendum voters decided for leaving the EU. University cities such as Oxford, Cambridge and Manchester generally supported the staying in the EU and the final results of the referendum scared a lot of the current and prospective students, as well as university officials. So far the study fees are remaining on the same level, but they could be among the things affected by the decision to leave the EU.

For British universities the Brexit can have very serious consequences. First of all, less money for research, secondly – difficulties for the international staff and the international cooperation and last but not least – difficulties for attracting new students from EU member states.

If the EU cuts the funding for the research, British institutions of higher education could lose their leading positions in different research fields. Now they need to sign additional agreements with partner universities to ensure cooperation and they need to arrange with the local government for funding. However, negotiations between the universities and the government could take place only later in the year. The Prime Minister David Cameron who backed up the remaining in the EU will be stepping down and a new government is due to be formed.

European analysts are warning of a possible “brain drain” or the danger of high ranked specialist leaving the British institutions and going to another EU country. Another aspect is that the European exchange programmes are preparing students to work and live in an international environment and the Brexit could make participation in these programmes more difficult.

British national newspaper “The Guardian” stated that the coming months will undoubtedly be challenging for British higher education, but don’t need to be disastrous. The daily advised the institutions to focus on strengthening their existing European partnerships so that these can continue into the future whatever happens.

Gaunt, Jeremy: 'Not on the same page': Brexit poses threat to British universities, Reuters, United Kingdom. [Date: 05/07/2016]

Henley, John: Leaving EU would be a 'disaster', British universities warn, The Guardian, United Kingdom. [Date: 11/11/2015]

Higher Education Network: Four reasons a Brexit would be bad news for UK universities, The Guardian, United Kingdom. [Date: 12/04/2016]

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