29 March 2017: Universities UK statement on the triggering of Article 50

Dame Julia Goodfellow, President of Universities UK and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Kent, said:

"Our future relationship with the EU has clear implications for universities in the UK. There are currently more than 125,000 students from other EU countries studying at UK universities and 17% of academic staff are from EU countries. The UK is a major beneficiary of the EU's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme and networks.

"The government must ensure that the UK remains welcoming to EU stude‚Äčnts and staff and that we can continue to access valuable and collaborative European research networks.

"Given the UK will remain in the EU for the next two years, there will be no immediate change for universities, staff or students. There are, however, some immediate steps the government should take in this transitional period. Most urgently, the government should provide reassurance to EU nationals currently working in the university sector on their rights to reside and work in the UK post-exit. Staff from EU countries make a vital contribution to university research and teaching and have a positive impact on the British economy and society.

"We also need the government to confirm that EU students starting a course next year (2018), will continue to be eligible for home fee status, and be eligible for loans and grants. As EU students start their research about studying abroad more than 12 months in advance of actual enrolment, it is important that action is taken as soon as possible to prevent a further drop in EU applications for 2018-19 entry."


Universities UK is the representative organisation for the UK's universities. Founded in 1918, its mission is to be the definitive voice for all universities in the UK, providing high quality leadership and support to its members to promote a successful and diverse higher education sector. With 135 members and offices in London, Cardiff (Universities Wales) and Edinburgh (Universities Scotland), it promotes the strength and success of UK universities nationally and internationally. Visit: www.universitiesuk.ac.uk ‚Äč

For more information on the implications of Brexit for UK universities, see Universities UK's Brexit FAQs and our briefing outlining policy priorities to support universities post-exit.


14 October 2016: Chief Executive of UUK on EU Students and England

Of interest for EU students starting study 2016/17 and 2017/18

Dear colleagues

I am delighted to confirm that the government has just announced that EU students applying for courses at English universities in autumn 2017 will be able to benefit from the current system of loans, and the current level of fees, throughout the duration of their course. This announcement follows sustained pressure from UUK, and widespread support from universities and the media. The announcement only affects EU students at English universities. We are liasing with Universities Scotland and Universities Wales, and our two Northern Irish members, to secure a similiar, and speedy, assurance for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

This announcement by the government means that UUK has now secured three of our four initial short-term objectives. They were in relation to (i) Horizon 2020 funding (ii) matched ESIF funding and now (iii) fees and loan support for students starting in both 16/17 and 17/18. The programmes that start now whilst we are still in the EU will be protected on existing terms after we leave. Our fourth objective relates to the immigration status of current EU staff, and this is something we are continuing to pursue. 

Now we have this clarity on student fees, we can be confident and public in our external international messages that we welcome EU students and that their terms will be guaranteed throughout their time in the UK, notwithstanding Brexit.

Our press release responding to the announcement is set out below. We will be promoting this widely internationally.

Of course these are only our short term objectives, and we now move on to secure our medium and longer term aims for a favourable outcome for UK universities post-Brexit. In particular, in relation to the proposed damaging immigration reforms set out in the Home Secretary's speech last week, we are as a priority crafting a response that will achieve our aims of protecting the sector. We will be responding publically and effectively, but will do so in a way that is carefully and strategically timed, and targeted at what we are trying to achieve. As part of this, we will later this week be releasing and promoting some recent polling that we have commissioned which (yet again) shows that the overwhelming majority of the British public do not see international students as migrants.

Do get back to me if  you have any questions or comments about our approach.

Best Wishes


Nicola Dandridge, Chief Executive, Universities UK

To read the UUK Press Statement, please click here