Universities and students won't be affected by Brexit as much as you think
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First things first, for EU students currently studying in the UK: DON’T PANIC.
Even if you now feel uncertain, and are experiencing any new animosity, you are welcome and respected at your university. Many universities have been releasing statements reassuring and supporting EU students.
Anne Chawk, senior student money advisor at Bedfordshire University said, “We would also like to reassure those applying to Bedfordshire that EU students are very welcome, play a vital role in life at the university and are valued members of the student community.”
Professor Sir David Greenaway, vice-chancellor of the University of Nottingham and chair of the Russell Group, has also spoken out against discrimination, stating: "Now more than ever we should ensure our campuses are places where diversity is welcomed, cherished and respected.”
On to the next major issue: money. Loans for EU students will not be affected, at least not for a while. The government has said that EU nationals currently receiving funding will definitely continue to be financed.
Those applying for student financing in England and Wales for the 2016-’17 academic year will also be fine, according to the Student Loans Company and Universities Wales.
However, EU students studying in Northern Ireland, have not yet been provided a solid confirmation of this same principle there.
Despite this only two UK universities have guaranteed that “EU student fees will not exceed those set for students from the UK for the next five years.”
Chawk has confirmed that Bedfordshire University will be one of those two: "We will also guarantee student loan finance for all students who are currently eligible, on the same terms offered by the Student Loans Company.”
The availability of research funding has also been put in question. Let’s not sugar coat it – EU investment at Russell Group universities has been significant, providing more than half a billion pounds a year. If ties are broken with the European research network, there is the possibility that this funding will cease, or at least be significantly reduced.
The NUS released a statement in which they revealed “some UK universities have already reported European partners pulling out of joint funding bids due to the uncertainty about the future.”
Also, with the expectation that numbers will drop following Brexit, Nick Hillman, the director of the Higher Education Policy Institute, said that certain courses might “no longer be viable” without the funding that comes from EU students.
But the main message to take away at this moment in time is that nothing is certain and it is important to remain positive.
“The benefits of going to university remain clear: university lets you experience a rich cultural and social scene, meet different people and study something you are really interested it,” says Chawk.If that doesn’t sway you, there is also the fact that “graduates earn up to £250,000 more over their life than people who finish their education when aged 16-18.”