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Support study abroad

Support study abroad

If there is a no-deal Brexit, Universities UK urges the UK government to commit to continue funding study abroad opportunities for UK students, even if the UK cannot negotiate continued participation in Erasmus+ programme. 

Campaign update: the campaign will be relaunched at 09:00 on Friday 11 October 

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.


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