Universities UK launches #SupportStudyAbroad campaign to protect study abroad in case of no-deal Brexit

​Universities UK has launched a national #SupportStudyAbroad campaign asking the UK government to commit to continue funding study abroad opportunities for UK students, even if the UK cannot negotiate continued participation in the Erasmus+ programme.

Without continued funding, 17,000 UK students will miss out on opportunities to study abroad next year.

The campaign has been launched in response to a technical note on the future of the UK’s membership of the Erasmus+ programme in the case of a no-deal Brexit, released on 28 January. The government has said it would like to stay in the Erasmus+ programme for future calls. However, if it cannot negotiate continued Erasmus+ membership, there will be no national alternative to enable students to go abroad in the case of a no-deal Brexit. 

Alistair Jarvis, Universities UK Chief Executive, said: “The benefits of study abroad are well documented. Not only does study abroad have clear employability benefits for students, it helps them to develop the language, communication and intercultural skills that will be so essential to building a truly global Britain. An investment in international experience for our students now is an investment in the future of our economy. Without the international opportunities offered through schemes like Erasmus, the UK’s workforce will not be equipped to meet the changing needs of the economy post-Brexit.

“In the case of a no-deal Brexit, I strongly urge the government to commit to continue funding study abroad opportunities for UK students, even if the UK cannot negotiate continued participation in Erasmus+ programme.”

Key facts and stats

1)  Study abroad supports social mobility. Students who study abroad outperform their peers academically and professionally. They are:

  • 19% more likely to gain a 1st class degree
  • 20% less likely to be unemployed
  • 10% more likely to be in ‘graduate’ jobs six months after graduation

For those from underrepresented and disadvantaged groups the benefits are even more pronounced:

  • BME students who studied abroad are 17% more likely to be in ‘graduate’ jobs six months after graduation
  • Mature students who participated in these programmes earn 10% more than their peers

2) International opportunities help students develop skills that UK businesses need. Research by the CBI has found that:

  • Seven out of 10 small and medium size enterprises believe that future executives will need foreign language skills and international experience
  • 39% of employers are dissatisfied with graduates’ intercultural awareness
  • 49% of employers are dissatisfied with graduates’ language skills

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