EU Referendum result: Frequently Asked Questions

Information for staff

Information for students


What are the immediate impacts of the vote to leave the EU?

There will be no immediate changes to the immigration status of current and prospective students and colleagues, nor to UK universities’ participation in EU programmes such as Horizon 2020 and Erasmus.


What are we doing to plan for the possible impacts of EU exit? 

Our Registrar and Secretary, Mike Shore-Nye, and our Provost, Professor Janice Kay, are setting up a steering group to consider the likely impact of any forthcoming negotiated changes. This group will consist of academics and professional services colleagues from across all colleges, services and functions of the University.


Are we working with other universities?

Our Vice-Chancellor is in discussion with Universities UK, fellow Russell Group universities and our UK, European and international partners to ensure the future of UK Universities, and ultimately our university, is not adversely affected by this decision.


Can we work with regional partners and communities to help to bring people together during this process?

Yes. Universities are forces for tolerance, enlightenment and understanding, and we need those now. We will work with all stakeholders including local MPs in any way we can. We are going to work hard in our local communities and to continue to talk about our values on academic campuses.


What is the effect on the University’s finance of the decline in the exchange rate?

Very small. In the short term the cost for internationals students has fallen so it’s possible that international applications will increase.


Are we expecting a statement from DCLG about structural funding bids that have gone through to the second round?

We are expecting an announcement, we don’t think there will be any difference. Until we leave it is business as usual.


Will we lose our global ambitions and competitiveness?

No. We have built the University to be competitive on the world stage and we are not going to let that go.


Has there been a statement from the Government about how the result will affect UK Higher Education?

On 28 June 2016, Jo Johnson, Minister of State for Universities and Science, made this statement on higher education and research following the EU referendum.


How can I find out more? 

Regular updates about the UK’s newly negotiated position and what this will mean for us at the University will be shared with you via email, the Team Brief, the Weekly Bulletin and your local college/service meetings.

For further information, visit How can I find out more?


Information for staff

How will the result affect EU funding?

For more information, and frequently asked questions, around how the result will affect all aspects of EU funding please see the Research Toolkit.


Regarding Horizon 2020 funding – how can we demonstrate that leading or being in consortia is not a risk?

We expect a statement from Government soon. It is in the interest of the British Government to remain fully in support of Horizon 2020 and whatever follows on.


How will the result affect current EU colleagues and students?

Until the UK has formally left the EU, previously agreed EU treaties will continue to apply, including the right of EU citizens to live, work and study in other member states.

Commentators agree that transitional arrangements for EU nationals already working and studying in the UK will form part of any negotiation but it is important to note that, until these negotiations have concluded, the immigration status of our students and colleagues will remain the same as they are now – this includes our current EU funded PGR students.


How will staff from the EU who are not on permanent contracts be treated?

There will be no difference for colleagues who are working here as EU citizens up to the point of Britain’s exit from the European Union: they will continue to be able to live and work in the UK as they can at present. After Britain leaves the EU, it will be a decision for the new government and Parliament but Universities will be lobbying to ensure that the terms of the UK’s exit include no change to free movement for EU citizens and protection for those who already live and work in the UK.


What will the impact be on recruitment? How is the university going to address the uncertainty among new applicants?

We appointed 59 EU nationals between January and the end of May. We have contacted every one of those to reassure them that there will be no immediate change and that they will continue to be able to live and work in the UK until the date when Britain leaves the EU, which is likely to be several years in the future. Universities will lobby the new government and Parliament to ensure that the terms of the UK’s exit include no change to free movement for EU citizens and protection for those who already live and work in the UK.


How can I find more information about applying for Permanent Residency and British Citizenship?

We have had a number of enquiries from colleagues asking whether they should consider applying for British Citizenship. This page sets out some guidance for those wishing to consider this option. We will also be running some workshops for employees who have lived in the UK for a longer period who want to find out more about applying for Permanent Residence and British Citizenship. Details of dates, times and venues will be communicated shortly.

We appreciate that this information will not be applicable to all employees from EEA countries and we wish to reassure our colleagues that the senior management of the University will continue to work with the higher education sector to encourage the Government to address your concerns at the earliest opportunity.

Please continue to send us your questions and suggestions on how we can support you to humanresources@exeter.ac.uk.


Where can I give feedback about the impact of the referendum result on EU research funding or projects? 

An email address has been set up for academics and universities to contact the government, to give examples of the impact of Brexit on EU research funding, European collaborations and other projects. You can submit details via the following address: research@bis.gsi.gov.uk.


Information for students

How will the result affect EU students who plan to start studying here in 2016/17 or 2017/18?

The EU referendum outcome will not lead to any immediate change to the immigration status of current EU students or those about to start a course in the coming academic year (2017-18). This has been confirmed in a statement (27 June) from Jo Johnson, Minister of State for Universities and Science.

The longer-term implications for EU students who want to apply to study in the UK will depend on the outcome of negotiations and what kind of relationship the UK agrees with the EU. 

The representative body for UK universities – UUK – is urgently calling on the UK Government to provide reassurances about the immigration status of existing EU students and staff following the UK's exit from the EU. It is also calling on them to affirm that it is a priority for Government to ensure that future academic and student mobility is not impeded by unnecessary bureaucracy regardless of the immigration status of EU nationals.


How will the result affect EU student fees?

There will be no immediate change to the tuition fees paid by current EU students attending UK universities.

It is important to remember that the UK will not leave the EU overnight – the negotiation process is expected to take up to two years, and the EU has indicated that this process will not begin until the UK triggers Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, formally signalling its intent to leave the EU. EU students are entitled to pay the same fees as UK students while the UK remains a member of the EU.

Universities UK has been lobbying in recent months to call on the Government to affirm that students starting in 2017-18 will be able to access student funding for the duration of their course. Following this the funding body provided reassurance in October 2016 to guarantee that EU students beginning courses this autumn in 2017–18 academic years will pay the same fees as UK students for the duration of their courses. UUK is now pushing the Government to provide further assurances for students starting in 2018-19.

The fees that EU students starting courses at UK universities after the UK has left the EU are required to pay will depend on what is agreed as part of the UK's exit negotiations. 


Will EU students continue to be eligible to receive loans and grants?

Separate statements from across all UK nations confirm that current EU students, and 2016–17 entrants, will be eligible to receive loans and grants to fund their studies for the duration of their courses.

EU students attending universities in England and Wales who are eligible under current rules to receive loans and grants from the Student Loans Company will continue to do so for the duration of courses they are currently enrolled on, or are about to start this coming year. This has been confirmed by the Student Loans Company for England, and by Universities Wales for Wales. 

UUK is calling on the UK Government to guarantee that EU students beginning courses in 2018–19 academic years will have the same access to tuition fee loans for the duration of their courses. This would be a short-term transitional measure for students starting ahead of the date of the UK exit from the EU.


As a 2nd year EU student, will I carry on paying EU fees?

There will be no immediate change to your immigration status and associated fee status or to your access to student loans as a result of the vote. This will remain the case until the Government decides otherwise and Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty foresees a two-year negotiation process between the UK and other Member States, during which time the terms of the UK’s exit from the European Union will be decided.

The Student Loans Company (SLC) has also confirmed that EU nationals or their family members, currently in higher education, and who are assessed as eligible to receive loans and/or grants from the SLC, will continue to receive these loans and grants until they finish their course. This applies to all student finance from the SLC for students in England for which EU nationals are eligible. This includes loans to cover tuition fees (for those resident in the EEA for three years), loans and grants for maintenance (limited to those resident in the UK for at least three years), and some other grants and allowances. 


I am a student on an EU scholarship, how will this affect me?

There will be no immediate change to your immigration status and associated fee status or to your access to student loans as a result of the vote. This will remain the case until the Government decides otherwise and Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty foresees a two-year negotiation process between the UK and other Member States, during which time the terms of the UK’s exit from the European Union will be decided.

The Student Loans Company (SLC) has also confirmed that EU nationals or their family members, currently in higher education, and who are assessed as eligible to receive loans and/or grants from the SLC, will continue to receive these loans and grants until they finish their course. This applies to all student finance from the SLC for students in England for which EU nationals are eligible. This includes loans to cover tuition fees (for those resident in the EEA for three years), loans and grants for maintenance (limited to those resident in the UK for at least three years), and some other grants and allowances.


Will the UK leaving the EU have an impact on my disabled students' allowance?

There will be no immediate change to your immigration status and associated fee status or to your access to student loans as a result of the vote. This will remain the case until the Government decides otherwise and Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty foresees a two-year negotiation process between the UK and other Member States, during which time the terms of the UK’s exit from the European Union will be decided.


As an EU student, will the exit affect tuition fees and living cost requirements in the UK?

There will be no immediate change to your immigration status and associated fee status or to your access to student loans as a result of the vote. This will remain the case until the Government decides otherwise and Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty foresees a two-year negotiation process between the UK and other Member States, during which time the terms of the UK’s exit from the European Union will be decided.


As an EU student, will my student loan debt suffer any changes?

There will be no immediate change to your immigration status and associated fee status or to your access to student loans as a result of the vote. This will remain the case until the Government decides otherwise and Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty foresees a two-year negotiation process between the UK and other Member States, during which time the terms of the UK’s exit from the European Union will be decided.

The Student Loans Company (SLC) has also confirmed that EU nationals or their family members, currently in higher education, and who are assessed as eligible to receive loans and/or grants from the SLC, will continue to receive these loans and grants until they finish their course. This applies to all student finance from the SLC for students in England for which EU nationals are eligible. This includes loans to cover tuition fees (for those resident in the EEA for three years), loans and grants for maintenance (limited to those resident in the UK for at least three years), and some other grants and allowances.


When will there be clarity on Postgraduate Research funding for EU students?

On 1 December 2016, the government confirmed that EU students starting Research Councils UK (RCUK) funded postgraduate research courses in academic year 2017-18 will remain eligible for funding support for the duration of their studies (even if the course concludes after the UK has left the EU).


How will the result affect EU students studying in the UK under the Erasmus scheme?

The immigration status of these students has not changed, and they continue to be eligible for their Erasmus grant for at least as long as we remain a member of the EU – and this could well be extended beyond this point depending on the negotiations that take place as part of the UK’s departure from the European Union.


How will the result affect UK students studying in the EU and elsewhere under the Erasmus programme?

Again, the immigration status of these students has not changed and they will continue to be eligible for their Erasmus grant for at least as long as we remain a member of the EU – and, again, this could well be extended beyond this point.

The UK National Agency (the British Council) have advised UK universities to continue promoting the programme and that funding is secure in 2017. 

Students from UK universities currently overseas on an Erasmus+ placement, and those considering applying to participate in Erasmus+ in academic year 2016–17, will not be affected by the referendum result. 

The European Commission has confirmed that EU law continues to apply in full in the UK until it is no longer a member. This therefore also applies to the projects financed through the Erasmus+ programme.

In the longer term, Universities UK will be urging the government to seek assurances from the EU that the UK can continue to access this valuable exchange programme.


Will European exchange places still be available if we leave the EU?

The University has been in regular contact with its European partner Universities who have expressed a wish to continue working with us and that they wish to continue sending students to Exeter. The University will continue to seek new academic partnerships both within Europe and the rest of the world.

In reality the difference between the exchange programme with EU destinations we have now, and then, will be the paperwork students have to complete as part of their application and what funding will be available to support their mobility should Erasmus+ not be available.


What are we doing to support Erasmus+ students?

Before, during and after a students’ mobility we keep them up-to-date with any information relating to their placements.  We have numerous resources available to them including 1:1 appointments, live chat via our website, workshops, pre-departure briefings and handbooks, our social media outlets include Pinterest, Twitter and Instagram.  In addition to the central Study Abroad Team we have academic and professional services staff with specialist study abroad knowledge in each College which our students can meet and discuss their options with.


What will be the impact on work placements for University students?

We are not currently aware of any impact on industrial placements and have not had any feedback from our industrial partners since the vote.

‘Industrial Placement’ students should be able to undertake Industrial Placements in any locations including overseas, subject to a risk assessment by the College. However current indications are that Britain is unlikely to formally leave the EU before 1/1/2019 at the earliest, and that the settlement between the EU and Britain may even then include free movement of labour and access to the ‘common market’ which may mitigate these concerns further.

The University’s continuing advice to any student in this situation would be to maximise your chances of securing a placement by taking full advantage of the support from the Careers team including:

  • 1:1 appointments with Employability Advisers for reviews of CV, letter of motivation, application form, LinkedIn profile and advice on sourcing placements
  • Attending the industrial placements fairs organised on campus
  • Attending employer events on campus
  • Taking part in mock interviews
  • Making use of the Peer Mentors, for hints and tips

To continue to enhance your CV, you may also want to investigate:

  • Work experience opportunities (which could also be in the student’s home country)
  • Part time paid work
  • Voluntary work
  • Active roles within societies

Will the ECTS credits be part of the discussion with the EU?

The University cannot see that there would be any change as to whether European Universities recognise ECTS credits in the future. There will certainly be no immediate change while the UK remains a member of the EU and this may be considered as part of the ongoing negotiations of the UK’s exit.


How do you see the equivalences of education between the UK and the EU in the coming years?

The Bologna Process is the series of ministerial meetings and agreements between European countries designed to ensure comparability in the standards and quality of higher education qualifications. The Bologna Process is wider than the EU, therefore we could not see any reason why the UK as a non-EU country (following exit from the EU) would not be a part of that. The Bologna Process constitutes an intergovernmental agreement, between both EU and non-EU countries and therefore does not have the status of EU legislation; participation and cooperation is completely voluntary.


Is there anything that students can do to support universities in lobbying the Government with regards to international students and the outcome of the EU Referendum vote?

Students can be a vital part of the University’s lobbying effort through active participation in public debate and discussion about these issues. Student societies through the Students’ Guild and FXU actively contribute to such debates. The Students’ Guild and FXU can support any student through attendance at NUS conferences and participation in campaigning activity through elected student representatives. In addition students can contact their MP, MEP and local Council representatives to share their views. 


The Cornwall campus has been largely funded by EU funding - what are the implications of this in light of the vote to leave the EU?

We have made and been successful in a number of bids to European Funds such as the European Structural Investment Fund (ESIF) as part of our development of the Cornwall Campus. Until the UK leaves the EU the University will continue to apply for further funding through the EU; however the future Cornwall Campus developments were going to rely less upon EU funding than previously even if the Referendum Vote had not taken place. We are ensuring that we continue to invest in Cornwall campuses through planned capital investment from our own annual budgets. In the run up to the UK leaving the EU, the University will work with others across the sector to ensure that the Government continues to make funding available to support regional development and growth through universities.