Brexit uncertainty and higher education

As we all know ‘Brexit’ has led to adjustments within our economy. However what you may not know is the effect these are set to have upon students.

The value of our currency has dropped significantly, particularly against the US dollar, where the exchange rate is at a 31-year low! Theresa May insists that our economy remains strong with record high employment and record low inflation. As well as significant growth in the FTSE100 index, due to the weaker pound.

Although our economy appears to have reacted well to Brexit (and the end is not near), students in the UK may not face such positive impacts.

Whilst general employment is at a record high, the graduate job market is not so prosperous. According to a survey from the Associate of Graduate Recruiters, the number of graduate vacancies has dropped 8% from last year. The economic uncertainty of Brexit is thought to be to blame for this decline, employers are warier. Just when you thought that getting a grad job couldn’t be harder ….

For students interested in a career in finance, the uncertainty is even worse. Brexit will lead to a change of regulations governing the finance industry. The government is in the process of formulating regulations which will answer for the laws introduced during the 40 years of our EU membership. So, the availability of graduate jobs in this industry may be influenced by the government’s new legislation.

Additionally, since the referendum, UK universities have fallen in global rankings. 38 out of the 48 universities in the top 400 fell in their QS world ranking. The reason for this is believed to be uncertainty of funding. However, it’s too early to see whether the uncertainty will have a lasting effect on the prestige of UK universities.

This funding uncertainty arises from two areas. A loss of funding from EU research grants and a decline in the number of international students. Some universities are even considering creating European campuses! To account for these loss of international students.

Unfortunately the loss of Erasmus funding, for UK students wanting to study in the EU, is one of few certain outcomes of Brexit. So even more debt for those wanting to study abroad in the EU.

It seems that Brexit has generally caused great levels of uncertainty. Students by no means are better off , but no huge revelations look set to change our day to day lives, for now anyways. Hopefully things will become clearer with the initiation of article 50, which is due to happen before march next year.

By Andrew Purdy

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