Brexit headlines around the world

Coverage of the UK’s vote to leave the EU in last month’s referendum has been extensive – including our own over at The PIE News of how Brexit might affect international education. Here we take a look at some of the headlines from across the EU and beyond, concerning how the events will affect student mobility and funding in different student markets.

Tuition fee uncertainty

Predictably, coverage within the EU focused largely on concerns over tuition fees for their own countries’ citizens studying in the UK.

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Also unsurprisingly, another focus of the coverage in Europe was on international partnerships and exchanges. In France, Le Monde asked if this is “La fin de la génération Erasmus” – the end of the Erasmus generation. Le Figaro questioned the future of exchanges between French and UK institutions, saying visa requirements would be “dissuasive”, with a blunt quote from a director of programmes at a business school: “We have other destinations such as Sweden and Denmark”.

Sweden‘s The Local took a different angle, speaking with British students who were concerned about “cutting the UK’s strong bond to the Nordics”

Meanwhile, in the UK’s closest neighbouring country, the Irish Times cited a warning from Trinity College Dublin that the vote could have “a long-term impact on universities in the Republic of Ireland”.

In Malta, both the Times of Malta and Malta Today predicted difficulties for Maltese students in the UK  – Malta Today said they were “facing uncertainty” over fees but added that “it’s very unlikely that EU citizens already living in the UK and Brits already residing in other EU countries will be sent back to their country of origin.”

The EU’s loss may be other students’ gain

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The day the results were announced, in Norway the Oslo and Akershus University College-owned independent newspaper Khronos reported UK universities’ concern over what Brexit might mean for them, but suggested that if EU students are made to pay higher fees to study at UK universities, the reduced competition could be good for Norwegian students.

And a week later, E24, a Norwegian online economy and business publication, ran a headline trumpeting that the country’s students “can save thousands” studying at UK universities thanks to the favourable exchange rate.

Business as usual

The UK has been the subject of many unfavourable headlines in recent years in the Indian press about how students might be affected by unwelcoming rhetoric or unfavourable immigration policy, but the post-Brexit analysis was more positive.

The Hindu ran a reassuring headline – “Don’t worry, Brexit won’t affect Indian students” – and included a quote that “the paperwork for visiting the UK remains the same with or without Brexit”.

India-based broadcasting network NDTV suggested that there could be further benefits for Indian students, adding: “Universities will no longer be obliged to provide scholarships to EU citizens, which will free up funds for students from other countries. Many more Indian students may be able to get scholarships for studying in the UK.”

Screen Shot 2016-07-04 at 17.47.21In China, the UK’s biggest source market for international students, news providers provided analysis but no splashy headlines.

Both BBC China and news website NTDTV highlighted the weakening pound leading to lower tuition fees as a positive for Chinese students, but noted that the potential for a rise in the cost of living caused by the currency fluctuations could end up offsetting the money saved. Relatively lower property prices could, however, be a major plus for many parents, given the link between Chinese students in the UK and investment in the UK property market.

Meanwhile in Korea, commentary was mixed. said that parents considering sending their children to the UK will be pleased (while those headed to the US will be worried)… but Yonhap News suggested that if universities start to treat EU students as international students, Koreans will face higher competition to study in the UK.

Opportunity knocks

Screen Shot 2016-07-04 at 19.00.10Of course, it’s not only student source markets that have a vested interest in what happens to the UK, but also competing study destinations. Visa restrictions and higher fees could mean that “Australian universities could nab a share of Britain’s $6.9 billion European student market”, noted The Australian, while the West Australian predicted that requiring EU students to obtain study and work visas  might”reduce the current squeeze on Australian applicants“.

Beckie Smith is senior reporter at The PIE News and manages The PIE Blog. To get in touch, email beckie[@]