Hard Brexit, Soft Brext, Crunchy Brexit, Nutty Brexit: what does Brexit mean for students?

Is the writer of this article the only one who thinks Brexit sounds like a type of cereal?

Never have there been so many opinions on one subject since the day Nick Gandhi wore his ‘funky shirt’ to our Manchester office. Brexit is almost upon us (or at least should be) with the UK being set to leave the European Union on Friday 29th March. When we do it is still a subject up for debate. Theresa May’s deals have been rejected more times than Prime’s Michael Hatton during a night on the pull, but if we do leave what does this mean for the UK, and more specifically, what does it mean for students?

Why students? Well because they’re the people who this will likely affect the most long term. Education and the opportunities taken after, are arguably the most crucial in one’s life and when a major change like Brexit happens it’s difficult to tell right away if this will help or hinder your goals. Whether you want a hard, soft, crunchy or nutty Brexit, we’ve done some digging to uncover all the pros and cons for students, so now grab a spoon and let’s get stuck in.

Tuition fees: international students

EU students commencing studies in the 2018/19 year or the 2019/20 year will still be eligible for the same fees and financial aid as regular students even after we leave the EU, this was confirmed by the government way back in April 2017.

However, beyond the 2019/20 year, things still remain unclear even now. Although a lot is still in the air until a deal or no deal is confirmed on the somewhat positive side, in the event of a “hard Brexit” the GBP may decline in value faster than universities can adjust their fees which could result in making studies in the UK more affordable in the short term. Not that we want the pound to devalue but every cloud has a silver lining.

Tuition fees: UK students

Sadly, Brexit will also cause problem for UK students who are interested in studying abroad. It’s likely that in future those wishing to study, travel and work elsewhere in the EU will now face higher fees and no longer be eligible for domestic rates. Changes to the Erasmus programme may also occur as the Government will need to reach an agreement with the EU for UK citizens to continue participating with Erasmus. However, the official Erasmus website does state ‘In the event that the UK leaves the EU with no agreement in place, the government guarantee will cover the payment of awards to UK applicants for all successful Erasmus+ and European Solidarity Corps bids.’ Put simply to avoid being affected, applications should be made sooner rather than later.

Visas: International Students

The Conservative party have made it clear with their intentions to reduce net immigration in the UK which does not bode well for international students. With that taken into consideration, it would be safe to assume that after Brexit new regulations will be put in place meaning EU students will have to apply for student visas to enrol at British Universities.

In October 2017 Home Secretary Amber Rudd stated that possibly a system would be put in place where it would easier for students to apply for student visas depending on their course. This means students on “lower quality” courses would find it more difficult to apply which seems… for lack of a better word… smart. Still this system has received a lot of backlash from other politicians and until Brexit happens it’s not certain if this system will take effect.

The UK may still secure a deal that offers a very similar arrangement to current free movement rules and, in that case, very little would change, however based on recent talks that May not happen (pun intended).

Visas: UK Students

It’s likely that in the event of Brexit, student visas will also be required for students wishing to travel or study in countries that are part of the EU. On top of this, they may also have reduced rights to work in those countries during or after their studies.

Do students want to leave the EU?

Well, there are the facts, but what about the opinions? Students are a big talking point surrounding the Brexit debate mainly due to the effect it will have on them and their education. The consensus seems to be most are pro remain but an interesting article on the BBC website gives a greater insight. ‘We hear a lot about how “young people want to stay in the EY, and some do, but the truth is not everyone eligible to vote showed up on the day in 2016. While 90% of over-65s turned out, only about 64% of 18-24 year olds voted (and of course, not all of those voted remain).’ The article continues to say that of the young people that did vote the majority did vote to remain, with it being known the older you are the more likely you are to have voted remain.

With the majority of students actually not wanting to leave the EU it begs the question if all those who opted not to vote decided to, would we be leaving at all? Sadly, we’ll never know but what we do know is that Britain will be leaving the European Union and whether that’s a good or bad thing, well that depends on who you talk to…

Did you find this article helpful? Do you think Brexit will benefit students and why? Let us know your opinions and make sure to check out the rest of the ‘This is Prime’ website for the best graduate/trainee job opportunities in Manchester and London.