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UK universities post-Brexit : the immediate problem is uncertainty

No one knows what effect leaving the EU will have. Britain is the second most popular destination for overseas students: each year more than 70,000 students come from other EU countries, a bit more than 5% of the total undergraduates. Now, they pay the same fees as UK students; after Brexit they will have to pay double, the full international student rate, and they will not be eligible for loans. Universities tell this year’s applicants their funding is guaranteed, but there is no similar guarantee for next year’s intake. That is likely to hit recruitment, just as the fall in 18-year-olds reaches its lowest level. And it is not just numbers: along with undergraduates, postgraduates and postdoc researchers who may be deterred in future, 14% of universities’ research funding comes from EU programmes – much more in some faculties – often forming the basis for important research partnerships. Some universities are considering opening European campuses so they can continue to work with EU colleagues, just as they have already opened extensions in countries such as India, China, Malaysia and Dubai.

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