Brexit and Erasmus: What happens next?

Image courtesy of: Wikipedia Commons

Image courtesy of: Wikipedia Commons

Launched in 1987, Erasmus allows students to experience global education through exchange programmes. Ranging from three months to one academic year, this programme allows students from the United Kingdom and Europe to study abroad and experience a different culture.

Monthly grants are also provided by the European Commission.

The UK is set to leave the European Union on 31 October. However, there is a chance that the current deal is on the verge of a stalemate.

If the UK is set to leave by the end of this month with a deal, then students who are studying abroad in the 2019/20 academic year will be fully funded by the Erasmus+ program. If there is a further delay, funding will still be guaranteed.

If the UK leaves the EU with no deal, the courses will still be paid for, but the funding will depend on whether or not the course has begun.

For students applying for the Erasmus program in the 2020/21 academic year, much of the funding is still left undecided. If the government does leave by Halloween, then they do not have a lot of time to decide what to do next.

If the Withdrawal Agreement passes and a deal is reached, the UK can continue to participate in the Erasmus scheme until the end of the programme.

Staff and students will be provided with complete mobility periods and receive funding until 2020/21.

A no-deal Brexit will leave the EU with potentially disastrous effects, both politically and economically, and also for more programs like Erasmus+.

Once the UK leaves the EU, deal or no deal, the UK may have to pay to be a part of Erasmus, similarly to what countries of the European Economic Area such as Liechtenstein, Iceland, and Norway do. Another alternative is that universities are advised to set up relationships with overseas universities.

The University of Kent already has European study centres in Brussels, Paris, Rome, and Athens. Kent also has relations with international universities across the globe, therefore exchange programmes can potentially be created between Kent and other overseas establishments.

While the situation with Brexit is unclear, the University of Kent has tried to clarify the situation for its students and staff.

Karen Cox, Vice-Chancellor, has stated that “we are still the UK’s European university. Europe is part of our DNA and we are determined to remain outward-looking”.

On University of Kent’s website, more information is available for students worried about the possible outcomes of Brexit on their studies. European students in Kent, who might be worried about their rights to study in the UK and travel in and out of the country regularly, can be reassured. As the web page states:

“As a current student, you will be able to live and study in the UK after the UK leaves the EU. The rights you currently have are protected, so you can continue to live your lives as you do now.”