Skip to SearchSkip to ContentSkip to Footer
Home > International > Go International > Stand out > Support study abroad

Support study abroad

Support study abroad

Universities UK continues to urge the UK government to fully associate to the future Erasmus+ programme as part of the negotiations for the future UK-EU relationship. Failing this we call for the implementation of a fully funded national replacement scheme.


Campaign update: 9 January 2020

On 8 January 2020, MPs voted against New Clause 10 to the Withdrawal Agreement Bill, which would have required the Government to seek to negotiate continuing full membership of the Erasmus+ programme. Please see here for a statement from Universities UK International about this vote.

 
The vote does not mean that the UK cannot and will not seek to associate to Erasmus+ during Brexit negotiations, but it does mean that we must continue to reinforce the life-changing benefits of study abroad.
 
Universities UK continues to urge the UK government to fully associate to the future Erasmus+ programme as part of the negotiations for the future UK-EU relationship. If the UK cannot negotiate continued participation in Erasmus+ programme, we call for the implementation of a fully funded national replacement scheme. We hope UK universities and study abroad students and alumni will continue to join this effort by sharing personal experiences and boosting the #SupportStudyAbroad campaign at this time.
 
How can you get involved?
 
You can join the campaign by:

  • Writing to your MP - if you wish, you can use our template letters for students and university staff
  • Tweeting the Prime Minister @BorisJohnson, asking him to commit to funding study abroad from 2020, even if we can't negotiate continued access to Erasmus+ using the #SupportStudyAbroad and #ErasmusPlus hashtags.
  • Adding #SupportStudyAbroad to relevant messaging about international opportunities
  • Read the campaign information documents in the sidebar on the right of this page to read more about getting involved, the background of the campaign and some suggested tweets. You can also download social media graphics to use from the sidebar

Campaign update: the campaign was relaunched on Friday 11 October 2019

How can you join the campaign?

You can join the campaign by:

  • Writing to your MP - if you wish, you can use our template letters for students and university staff
  • Tweeting the Chancellor of the Exchequer @sajidjavid, asking him to commit to funding study abroad from 2020, even if we can't negotiate continued access to Erasmus+
  • Adding #SupportStudyAbroad to any planned Erasmus day activity on 10,11 and 12 October, to amplify the message
  • Read the campaign information documents in the sidebar on the right of this page to read more about getting involved, the background of the campaign and some suggested tweets. You can also download social media graphics to use from the sidebar.

Impact so far:

On 6 February 2019 Universities UK International and Universities UK launched the #SupportStudyAbroad campaign, calling on government to commit to funding study abroad opportunities in case of a no-deal Brexit, even if continued access to the Erasmus+ programme cannot be negotiated. The campaign reached 6.38 million people and achieved 16.56 million impressions on Twitter after only 2 weeks. 

In September, Education Secretary, Gavin Williamson MP stated:  

'I want to reassure you that my department is open to continuing to be part of schemes like Erasmus+. But we have to prepare for every eventuality, and it is sensible to consider all options. As such I have asked my officials to provide for a truly ambitious scheme if necessary.'  

What do we need now?

So far, the government has said they are 'open' to participating in the Erasmus+ programme for future years and have guaranteed to replace grants awarded by the EU for studying abroad in 2019.

What we don't have yet – and what we urgently need – is a clear commitment to fund study abroad in the academic year 2020/21 and beyond, either through securing our participation in Erasmus+ OR, if necessary, by providing funding for a national replacement mechanism.


Why is this important? 

  1. Study abroad supports social mobility. Students who study abroad outperform their peers academically and professionally. They are:
    • 19% more likely to gain a first 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. An investment in an 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 our economy post-Brexit. 

    Research by the CBI has found that: 
    • seven out of ten small- and medium-sized 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

  3. Without this funding, 17,000 UK students will miss out on opportunities to study abroad next year. The government has committed to avoiding this in the withdrawal agreement – why not in the case of no deal?

  4. With exit from the EU pending, the government has ambitious plans for a global Britain – committing to study abroad funding should be central to achieving this vision.

About UUK’s work on study abroad

In 2017, Universities UK International launched the Go International: Stand Out campaign to double the percentage of UK students who study, work, or volunteer abroad as part of their degree.

So far, 98 universities have joined the campaign and pledged ambitious actions to help us reach this target.

The higher education sector recognises the significant value that study abroad opportunities hold for our students and our country. We need the government to recognise the same.

Find out more about the Go International: Stand Out campaign.

News

Language learning vital to pandemic recovery

7 July 2020
Universities UK is part of a coalition of partners today putting forward to Government a strategy to boost language learning, which has fallen drastically in recent years.

UUK response to announcement on changes to home fee status from 2021/22

23 June 2020
​In response to the UK government's announcement that EU, other EEA and Swiss nationals will no longer be eligible for home fee status from 2021/22, Alistair Jarvis, Chief Executive of Universities UK, said:

Blog

Supporting LGBT students studying overseas

10 March 2020
Stonewall's Emma Kosmin on steps universities can take to provide support for LGBT students studying overseas.

Brexit day is here; but where next for the UK's immigration system?

31 January 2020
On the day that the UK leaves the European Union, UUK's Karmjit Kaur sets out what immigration reforms are needed to ensure the system is fit for purpose.