University of Kent and the EU Referendum
A message from Joanne Ganderton-Smith, Director of International Recruitment
Following the UK’s vote to leave the European Union, many questions have arisen about the possible future impact on the UK’s universities.
Universities UK released the following public statement on Friday 24 June 2016:
“Leaving the EU will create significant challenges for universities. Although this is not an outcome that we wished or campaigned for, we respect the decision of the UK electorate. We should remember that leaving the EU will not happen overnight – there will be a gradual exit process with significant opportunities to seek assurances and influence future policy.
“Throughout the transition period our focus will be on securing support that allows our universities to continue to be global in their outlook, internationally networked and an attractive destination for talented people from across Europe. These features are central to ensuring that British universities continue to be the best in the world”.
In a statement to staff and students, the Vice-Chancellor Professor Dame Julia Goodfellow said:
'The University of Kent is proud to be outward facing and international. We are especially proud of our diverse student body and our European and international staff. We recognise that we benefit greatly from this diversity.
'I am naturally disappointed at the result of the EU referendum. It reflects neither my personal views nor those of the University. I recognise, nonetheless, the democratic process that has led to this outcome.'
The University will work with Universities UK and other agencies, seeking advice and guidance throughout the period of transition particularly on the issues directly affecting our non-UK European Union students and staff. Staff and students have been emailed and we will be arranging information events, FAQs and other assistance over the coming days and weeks.
Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty foresees a two-year negotiation process between the UK and other EU Member States, during which time the terms of the UK’s exit from the European Union will be decided. There is considerable uncertainty about what would follow but the key steps are likely to be as follows:
- The European Commission would need to seek a mandate from the European Council (excluding the UK) to propose a withdrawal agreement;
- The agreement would need to be negotiated with the European Council;
- The European Parliament would then need to give consent;
- European Commission undertakes negotiation with the UK
For the UK higher education sector two key questions in terms of exit negotiations are:
- Whether any change will occur in relation to the UK’s participation in EU programmes or the immigration status of current and incoming EU nationals before or during the negotiation process for withdrawal and if so what transition measures will be applied.
- What terms the EU and the UK can agree as part of the withdrawal agreement and how these impacts freedom of movement for students and staff, and access to EU programmes.
The vote to leave the European Union does not mean there will be any immediate material change to the UK university sector’s participation in EU programmes such as Horizon 2020 and Erasmus+, nor to the immigration status of current and prospective EU students and staff.
We assume that there will be no change in the position of students from the EU already in receipt of student loans or who will be taking out student loans in the transition period. If the status of EU students changes to international students in the future, the University of Kent would make a decision on student fees in due course.
The University of Kent has contingency plans in place and a working group will meet to examine the University’s position in more detail. Currently Kent does not pay commission to EU recruited students, or work with agents based in EU fee status countries at present.