The survey from Hubson (cited in Dennis, 2016) demonstrates that Brexit
referendum has made the UK less attractive for 82% of students from European
In fact, since the UK has voted the Brexit the 23rd June 2016
(MacDonald, 2017), the future of UK universities is at stake. Erasmus students
wonder if they are still welcome or not in the UK. The Higher Education from
the UK has benefited from advantages of being part of the EU. However, Brexit
will have an impact on these institutions (Henley & Slaney, 2017).
How will the UK face the challenge of Brexit in the High Education and
On one hand, the UK benefits from many advantages of being part of the
EU for the student mobility, the High Education and the research but the Brexit
will impact these sectors. Thus the alternatives for the UK after Brexit need
to be thought, even if the UK will face problems.
First, the United Kingdom has been involved in the Erasmus programme
since 1987, when it has been created. 3,000,000 students and more have
travelled around the EU (McCutcheon, 2016). This is a real success. Erasmus +
provides a connection between European countries in terms of education and
students. The programme allows sharing cultural incentive during a mobility
(MacDonald, 2017). Besides, students from the Erasmus Programme have better
chances to work abroad (McCutcheon, 2016).
In 2016, 86,588 people were involved in the Erasmus + Programme in the
High Education in the United Kingdom and around 10% of them were staff
(MacDonald, 2017). Ken Mayhew (2017) explains that students from European
countries chose the UK even if it is more expensive than other countries from
Europe. In fact, the UK is part of the top of destination on the Erasmus
programme (Henley & Slaney, 2017). However, if they have to pay all the
fees of international students they might not come. Besides, EU students until
now didn’t have to pay for a visa as the non-EU students, but with the Brexit,
they would have to (Ken Mayhew, 2017). In fact, Europe made the UK more
attractive because of the freedom of movement principle existing between EU
countries (Henley & Slaney, 2017).
MacDonald (2017) says the UK High Education is strong. Universities UK
(cited in MacDonald, 2017) demonstrates that the competitiveness of
universities from the country is really high. These universities are well
ranking according to Henley & Slaney (2017).
They have a good impact on the economic growth of the UK and they are
really good at research internationally which make them attractive for students
Besides, in relation with the Erasmus Programme, the report “Education
at a Glance” from the OECD, (cited in Anne Corbett, 2015) explains that
nowadays being employable do not depends just on the ability of student to make
the job but it depends also on soft skills which are linked to the personal
experience. Studying abroad makes students more employable. (Anne Corbett,
Being part of the EU brings lots of advantages for research and
In fact, according to (MacDonald, 2017), a “Strategic Partnership” has
been built through the membership of the EU countries. The aim is to coordinate
the High Education system so that European countries can work together. People
from European countries become international which makes universities and
education even more diversified and cross-cultural.
MacDonald (2017) also speaks about “Knowledge Alliances” which provide
to the European High Education the opportunity to build projects together
(education, innovation, knowledge) and reinforce the relationship of the
countries (Henley & Slaney, 2017).
The funding support from the EU is fundamental for the growth of the
labour market in the UK but also for the research and universities. According
to Henley & Slaney (2017). Europe provided an amazing support to the UK.
The EU provides to the UK the funding for the research in science and
invention. But also, as said before, it makes the UK more attractive for
students (Anne Corbett, 2015).
The European community of science proves that the EU makes the research
more effective because it makes in contact all Scientifics of EU to achieve big
sciences research (Anne Corbett, 2015).
Corbett (2015) and Henley & Slaney (2017) explain that Horizon 2020
has connected countries of Europe to improve the science research and
innovation which has been really good for the UK.
The vote of Brexit has impacted the UK: student, high education,
MacDonald (2017) exposes the fact that students said not to vote for
Brexit. However, Brexit has been voted and students and High Education are the
most impacted by this measure.
In fact, this decision affects student by decreasing the chance for them
to go abroad in the EU for their studies (MacDonald, 2017). By being out of the
EU, students and staffs from Europe will not have as many favourable
circumstances as before without the Brexit and its free movement principle
(MacDonald, 2017). McCutcheon (2016) exposes that studying abroad and
understand another culture is important for the future of students, in a world
even more international (Anne Corbett, 2015).
Besides, this vote will impact the migration, with a reduction of it,
and the UK government wants to take into account students as migrants. And Ken
Mayhew (2017) tells they are 30% of all the migrants. While the other
consequences will be a lack of funding provided by EU to help students to go in
Erasmus and the probability of being rejected from the hub created by EU
countries for research and share of knowledge (MacDonald, 2017). In fact,
MacDonald (2017) exposes the amount of money that the UK will need to support
its high education, students, staffs and research: €129 million.
High Education from the UK will be impacted because EU will not provide
funding for students and will not support the research and innovation
(McCutcheon, 2016). That is why it is important to think about what are the
alternatives for the UK to support these sectors (Anne Corbett, 2015).
Building alternatives are the first step for the UK after the vote of
Brexit. However, MacDonald (2017) says that this will cost a lot of money and
the government needs to negotiate with the EU the conservation of advantages
High Education and research. The same author argues that to maintain its
position the UK need to continue to negotiate to remain in EU projects as
Erasmus and Horizon 2020.
The negotiations with the EU will be based on the principle of free
movement which is one of the conditions to remain in the Erasmus Programme
Switzerland can be an example for the UK. In fact, the country in
February 2014 has voted for less immigration in its country and to give up the
principle of free movement. In consequence, the EU had decided to remove
Switzerland from the Big Science Programme (Henley & Slaney, 2017).
The UK government needs to know if, after the Brexit, the country will
find alternatives to continue with the EU or will go out completely and build
new relationships with the world (John Kirkland, 2017).
In fact, the government can whether think about continue the freedom of
movement with the EU or not. In this case, the only alternative for the UK to
keep the advantage of providing mobility to the students will be to create its
own mobility programme (Henley & Slaney, 2017). John Kirkland (2017)
insists on the fact that building a new relationship will need to be affordable
by all the students and staffs and not only to an elite.
As an alternative for the UK, building new relationships with Anglophone
countries can be easy (Anne Corbett, 2015). John Kirkland (2017) shows the
possibility of a rapprochement with the Commonwealth.
The UK has some alternatives. However, John Kirkland (2017), explains
that being closer to Anglophone countries can be difficult. In fact, Australia
would prefer close links with China for its innovation competencies. Besides,
the Brexit vote pushed Canada and Mexico to remove the need for a visa to study
in these two countries so that it is easier for students to go there
(Marguerite, 2016). And Marguerite (2016) announced an increase of
attractiveness from emergent countries.
The exclusion of The UK from the Erasmus programme will have an impact
on others (McCutcheon, 2016). First, students looking for Anglophone countries
will fall back on Ireland, but this country will not be able to welcome this
amount of students. That is why, they will go to the USA, Canada, Ireland,
Scotland or Australia for those who have the mean (McCutcheon, 2016).
To conclude, the consequences of Brexit on the UK economy and High
Education sector will be important. Even if alternatives exist for the UK, it
is hard to keep the same level of advantages. For now, the National Agency for
Erasmus + continues to negotiate and the funding will continue to be provided
until 2020, but with the government statement: “nothing is agreed until
everything is agreed” (ERASMUS +, 2017).