Hard Brexit has caused the number of EU applicants to British universities to drop, according to a new report by The Independent.
The University of Cambridge has seen EU undergraduate applications drop by 14 per cent between 2015 and 2016.
The effects of Britain’s exit from the European Union on the UK’s higher education sector were also displayed in figures reported by the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) last autumn.
According to UCAS, the number of applications for early deadline courses – including applications for Oxbridge, medicine, dentistry and veterinary science – have dropped from 6,860 in 2015, to 6,240 in 2016.
University vice-chancellors from across the UK attended a public hearing at the University of Oxford with the Education Select Committee, discussing the possible outcomes of the Brexit vote on higher education institutions in the UK.
Catherine Barnard, professor of EU law at the University of Cambridge, stated at the Education Select Committee that a hard Brexit would “cut off the flow of excellent people who are coming at the moment”, according to Cambridge News.
In light of the news, Stephanie Haywood, President of Engineering Professor’s Council and Head of Electronic & Electrical Engineering at the University of Hull, spoke to The Student on the issue.
“UK universities would want to negotiate being part of the European Framework Programme, something that would not be directly associated with teaching but indeed the case for research”, Professor Haywood explained.
“The affiliation that Norway has had to the framework programme would be an exemplar of this”, she continued.
To combat the removal of freedom of movement for EU citizens, Professor Haywood suggested an exemption for those in the higher education sector.
This would be applicable for all EU persons associated with higher education institutions, including both teaching staff and students.
Professor Haywood told The Student that the majority of PhD engineering students come from outside the UK, and that there is a shortage of engineers in the country.
She also advocated for further reassurance that students and staff would be able to stay in their country of study.
“For teaching staff in particular”, Professor Haywood explained, “there needs to be clarity on what the rules are to be regarding their families’ status in staying in the UK, as many of them have spouses and children residing in the country.”
Speaking on the lack of control universities have over government strategy, Professor Haywood encouraged universities to use the power they have and lobby against policies they disagree with.
Concluding, she hoped universities will “try to make conditions as favourable as possible so that people can regularly get visas to study or visas to work after they study.”
Image: Paul D