University guarantees funding amid study abroad Brexit uncertainty

Students required to complete a European year abroad have had their funding assured by the University of Edinburgh.

Funding is currently provided by the European Union’s (EU) Erasmus Programme, with the current programme ending in December 2020.

The university now guarantees Languages and Cultures undergraduates starting in 2018 and 2019 will have the same level of financial support that Erasmus students currently experience.

While the university has expressed its intent to participate in the next Erasmus Programme, it is unclear whether or not this will be possible once the United Kingdom leaves the EU.

Principal of the University of Edinburgh Peter Mathieson said in a press release, “We have taken this step in order to reassure those students required to undertake periods of mandatory study and work abroad in Europe.

“Guaranteeing that their European placements will not be affected by the current uncertainty is crucial to their education and future.

“It is very important that we offer this guarantee so potential students know that they will not be financially disadvantaged by the changes that will follow Brexit.”

The university estimates that funding requirements will be broadly equivalent to current levels in its contingency plans, should it not be part of the 2021-27 Erasmus Programme.

University leaders say the move recognises the importance of language skills in the global economy and that cost uncertainty may become a deterrent to studying abroad.

The University of Edinburgh is the largest recipient of Erasmus+ funding in the United Kingdom and over 7000 Edinburgh staff and students have studied, trained, volunteered or taught abroad. The university has participated in the scheme since 1987 and currently has 500 Erasmus exchange links with 300 European partners.

Prior to the 2016 United Kingdom European Union membership referendum, the university had expressed its preference to remain in the EU.

Image: Thomas Graham via Flickr

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