Tuesday

17th Oct 2017

Focus

EU students and academics could desert UK

  • The UK government has refused to guarantee that EU students' status will remain unchanged next year. (Photo: Jirka Matousek)

Brexit negotiators must ensure that researchers and students can move freely between Germany and the UK or risk endangering decades of successful cooperation, a German academic body has warned.

Margret Wintermantel, president of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), wrote in the UK daily the Guardian that students and staff faced huge uncertainties as a result of the 23 June vote for Britain to leave the EU.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

For students, the possible demise of the Erasmus exchange programme was a “catastrophe”, she wrote. Also, negotiators must ensure that German students continue to be eligible to pay local fees - much lower than the costs for non-EU foreign students.

Some 14,000 German students are currently enrolled at British universities.

For academic staff, the Brexit vote has caused “painful” uncertainty as to whether they will even be able to get residence permits.

“Some top academics are not accepting posts in British universities as they do not know the conditions under which they will be able to work here in the future,” she wrote.

More than 5,000 Germans work in British universities out of a total of roughly 32,000 EU-national staff - 15 percent of the total number of academic staff in the UK.

She promised that her organisation, which represents 239 institutions and 105 student bodies, would continue to campaign for “continuity, expansion and openness of academic exchange”.

EU franchises

Her comments echo warnings from UK institutions over the consequences of Brexit.

Dame Julia Goodfellow, president of industry body Universities UK, recently called for “'swift and positive action” to reassure EU students that they would be eligible to pay local fees in the coming years.

Warnings over the future of research funding have abounded since the referendum.

A group of institutions issued a joint statement in July urging the government to safeguard research and collaboration with the EU.

Their statement highlighted that the UK had received €6.9 billion in EU research grants between 2007 and 2013, and that most overseas collaborations undertaken by British academics were with EU colleagues.

British universities have already begun to explore possibilities including setting up campuses in the EU as a sort of franchising – a strategy some already follow in India, China and elsewhere.

In a recent speech at Nottingham Trent University, UK universities minister Jo Johnson said EU students starting studies this autumn would remain eligible for local fees and they would be able to use the UK student loans system.

And he said the UK Treasury would underwrite all EU research funding awarded while the UK remained a member of the bloc, though uncertainty remains over what kind of funding will be available after Brexit.

But he conceded that he could provide no further clarity for academic staff from the EU, nor could he give any guarantees for students planning to come to the UK next year.

“These issues are inevitably closely linked to the wider process of exiting the and the sequencing is important to get right,” he said.

Column / Brexit Briefing

Brexit: preparing for a bitter divorce

Conservatives Brexiteers and Labour leadership are increasingly leaning away from the Norwegian-style deal with the EU, towards a UK-specific arrangement.

University rankings reveal two-speed Europe

British, German and Dutch institutions do very well in the latest university rankings, with Oxford named the world's best. But the French and much of the rest of the EU are lagging behind.

UK's universities set 'Brexit wish list'

British academics want to guarantee residency and work rights for their EU staff, as well as "enhanced mobility opportunities" for UK and EU students, mostly by keeping British participation in EU funding programs.

EU 'rebrands' youth corps

The European Commission proposes a €341-million budget to get unemployed people into volunteering activities or traineeships that “promote solidarity” in their own countries or abroad.

Supported by

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. International Partnership for Human RightsEU Should Seek Concrete Commitments From Azerbaijan at Human Rights Dialogue
  2. European Jewish CongressEJC Calls for New Austrian Government to Exclude Extremist Freedom Party
  3. CES - Silicones EuropeIn Healthcare, Silicones Are the Frontrunner. And That's a Good Thing!
  4. EU2017EEEuropean Space Week 2017 in Tallinn from November 3-9. Register Now!
  5. European Entrepreneurs CEA-PMEMobiliseSME Exchange Programme Open Doors for 400 Companies Across Europe
  6. CECEE-Privacy Regulation – Hands off M2M Communication!
  7. ILGA-EuropeHealth4LGBTI: Reducing Health Inequalities Experienced by LGBTI People
  8. EU2017EEEHealth: A Tool for More Equal Health
  9. Mission of China to the EUChina-EU Tourism a Key Driver for Job Creation and Enhanced Competitiveness
  10. CECENon-Harmonised Homologation of Mobile Machinery Costs € 90 Million per Year
  11. ILGA-EuropeMass Detention of Azeri LGBTI People - the LGBTI Community Urgently Needs Your Support
  12. European Free AllianceCatalans Have Won the Right to Have an Independent State

Latest News

  1. No sign of Brexit speed-up after May-Juncker dinner
  2. EU defence strategy 'outsourced' to arms industry
  3. EU privacy rules tilt to industry, NGO says
  4. Malta in shock after car bomb kills crusading journalist
  5. Spanish and Catalan leaders continue stand-off
  6. May pleads for more, as EU makes Brexit gesture
  7. EU circles the wagons around Iran deal
  8. 'Think of the patients!' cry EU agency contenders