The impacts of Brexit in Europe are only just beginning to be seriously felt in certain sectors, but they’ve spread throughout the entire continent. Although it’s a political reform in Europe, the entire world is watching to see how it plays out. Currently, the spotlight is on the landscape of academics as the Brexit financial impacts are playing havoc with grad students trying to obtain their Ph.D.
Individuals who were in the process of getting their graduate degrees or planning on it are nervous as to how Brexit is going to change their future. It’s a serious problem that could have lasting consequences, and the world needs to know about the effects that might impact research and academics in the future.
What is Brexit, anyway?
If you live in Europe, Brexit is a household term. But if you don’t, it’s a vague concept that might or might not someday be something you need to worry about, so you probably have been ignoring it until it’s necessary. If that’s the case, you should start paying attention, because it’s reaching the world of academics - your world.
In a nutshell, Brexit is the term coined for the United Kingdom’s monumental decision back in 2016 to cut ties with the European Union. With more 30 million people agreeing to the choice, it’s not like it was contested and a monarchal decision.
The European Union is an alliance of 28 countries in Europe who have the understanding to agree on certain political and economical issues, such as making the euro the main form of currency and deciding on travel and relocation permissions.
But the United Kingdom chose to sever this alliance in order to keep control of its borders and economic decisions.
The Financial Consequences of Brexit
Once the initial shock of the United Kingdom actually passing Brexit wore off, other countries began to adjust and deal with what that meant. Particularly in the European Union, the consequences would become political and economic.
Without their involvement in the EU, the UK’s tariff-free status would be revoked. This could weaken the British Pound and force the UK to increase the prices of their exports, and also cause those merchants who exported to the UK to increase their costs to cover the tariffs.
This one consequence could have major repercussions, but it’s not the only financial impact the UK would have to deal with. To try to circumvent these major setbacks, the UK is implementing policies that have had a direct hit on students in higher education schools.
Any EU student going to university in the UK is going to lose their automatic access to home fees and funding statuses after August 2021. So if an EU student hasn’t begun their master's or Ph.D. by the 2020-21 term, they are impacted by this major funding cut.
What that means, in short, is that anyone who is in a program prior to the 2020-21 cut will be able to do so under domestic, cheaper tuition and fee rates. But after that, the prices go way up, forcing some students to change their plans entirely.
What You Can Do if You’re Affected
Anyone who is already in the UK and thinks they might be affected by this cut can apply for help before December 2020. The EU Settlement Scheme is intended to help those students impacted to keep their rights, like domestic university rates and access to student financial assistance.
Those who are eligible must prove that they either have been living in the UK for five or more years, to obtain “settled status,” or have been living in the UK for less than five years but would like to stay for up to five more years as an “unsettled status” student.