Leeds University seeks Brexit clarification

The University of Leeds has issued a statement to The Gryphon seeking to reassure students in the wake of a Brexit vote which continues to be mired in uncertainty.

In a week when #WeAreInternational banners litter campus to welcome international students to their studies, a spokesperson for the University reiterated that it is “committed” to its “vibrant international community,” which is over 6,000 students strong and spans 147 countries.

The University has said that it is working with other higher education institutes and bodies to urge the government to “clarify fees and access to tuition fee loans for current and future students” and “provide reassurances about the immigration status of existing EU students and staff.”

At present, the Student Loans Company has only guaranteed that loans and grants will be available to eligible EU nationals either currently enrolled or starting in the 2016/17 academic year. If EU students were to lose their current classification as Home students, they may face the same uncapped level of tuition fees as non-EU internationals – which is currently set at between £15,000 and £31,500 per year for an undergraduate course.

With tightened immigration controls forming a central part of the Leave campaign, UCAS senior policy executive Ben Jordan warned that the immigration process for EU domiciled students may become more “complex”, and which many believe could include a visa requirement.

Access to education abroad is also a concern to the 900 University of Leeds students who choose to study abroad each year. In the 2013/14 academic year, nearly 15,600 of the 28,640 UK students who went abroad to study or for work placements did so through the European Union’s Erasmus initiative, which provides fiscal support including non-repayable grants.

The Vice-Chancellor of the University, Professor Sir Alan Langlands, was one of 103 signatories to an open letter citing grave concerns about the impact of a Brexit vote in which 71% of students voted remain. The Department for Exiting the European Union has yet to indicate the deal it is seeking on behalf of students.

Sarah Fitzpatrick Berry

Image: The Guardian

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