This paper proposes a number of stability measures and recommendations from Universities UK to both maximise stability and to minimise the risk as the UK exits the EU.

In the report, UUK outline 5 key areas in which the UK Government should focus on to provide stability for the Higher Education sector, namely research collaboration & funding, student & staff mobility, immigration policy, EU student fees & loans, and replacing structural funds. Without action in these areas, UUK warn of the potential risks to universities in the UK:

  • The UK higher education sector’s reputation as a collaborator of choice in vital research is weakened
  • Access to key funding mechanisms to support research excellence are lost
  • The UK will slip further behind competitors in sending students abroad as part of their degree
  • The UK will lose existing academic talent from the EU
  • Universities will experience sudden, steep declines in EU student enrolments
  • Universities’ activity to drive local growth and generate jobs is hampered

The proposed measures to increase stability and certainty are detailed in the full report.

Key statistics from the report:

  • UK universities contribute over £73bn to the British economy, which equates to 2.8% of GDP
  • Universities generate 750,000 jobs, and £11bn of export earnings for the UK each year
  • Evidence suggests that outward mobility offers a variety of benefits for students. Based on a sample of 225,880 UK graduates six months after graduation, those who had at least one period abroad during their degree were 32% less likely to be unemployed, more likely to be in a graduate job, and earning 5% more than those with no international experience.
  • There are 127,440 EU students studying in UK universities – around 5% of the student population. However, applications have fallen by 5% since 2016. In order to prevent any further decline, clarity on fees and loans for, at the least, 2019–20 entrants is becoming urgent, as around 80% of students start their research into study abroad more than 12 months ahead of enrolling, and universities cannot currently provide any guarantees to these EU students who will enquire while the UK remains a member of the EU
  • According to UCAS, applicant numbers from Germany and Ireland decreased by 10% and 16% respectively between 2016 and 2017
  • Between 2003–04 and 2014–15, UK universities received more than £1 billion from the EU via European Regional Development Funds (ERDF) and European Social Funds (ESF)
  • In 2015–16, European Structural Investment Funds (ESIF) represented as much as 2.7% of income for some institutions

To read more from UUK, visit their website.