Cambridge MP Daniel Zeichner has slammed the Universities Minister for dodging key questions on funding for universities if the UK leaves the European Union. EU students are currently considering whether to come to universities next year, but have no certainty on how much they will be charged. A substantial fall-off will hit university coffers and deny universities access to high-quality students. On Monday in the House of Commons, Mr Zeichner asked Universities Minister, Sam Gyimah MP to clarify whether EU students would still be eligible for home fee status, loans and grants, rather than the higher international students‘ fees rates in 2019/20 and 2020/21. The Minister refused to provide any clarity, saying information would be provided “as soon as possible”.
Daniel Zeichner MP said: “We need much more urgency. The admissions process is open and people are waiting to apply to medical and dentistry schools and some universities, but they face a real drop-off unless certainty is given soon about the status of EU students next year. Why do the Government not support British universities, which are among our great export earners? Is this just another day, another Brexit blunder?.”
Minister Sam Gyimah MP replied: “We hugely support our universities. Applications for courses starting in the 2020-21 academic year will not open until September 2019. We will ensure that students and institutions have the information they need very soon.”
Mr Zeichner comments: “This lack of clarity for English universities is unacceptable. The Scottish government has given assurances for its universities – it seems that the Universities Minister in London does not understand the urgency of this issue at all. Universities in this country are rightly a source of national pride; why won’t the Conservative government make decisions to support both our universities and the students in Europe that want to attend them? Students are making their minds up now about where to apply – this government is disadvantaging our institutions with yet another Brexit shambles.”