In case you’ve been living under the rock for the last year or so you’ll know that Brexit refers to the UK’s decision to quit the European Union. Since Brexit was voted as the way ahead for the UK, quite a few things have changed and several industries have felt the brunt, including the education sector. So what does Brexit mean to students (especially international students) aspiring to do their postgraduate program in the UK? Should you be reconsidering your decision to do a postgraduate course in the country post Brexit?
Studying in the UK may now cost you less, if you're an international student. No, the fees haven't come down. But since the pound value has taken a hit due to Brexit, you may now pay less for your course. In fact, it has never been this inexpensive, thanks to the fall in the sterling pound’s value. This means if cost was ever a factor between you and your postgraduate UK degree, it should be less of an issue now. This fall in value, however, is temporary in nature. Once the effects of the currency devaluation are well behind us, college expenses will be back to normal. There are several factors that could affect cost. If the sterling pound stays weak against the home currency of a student, the student would ultimately be better off paying his fees in sterling. But if the university a student applies to has suffered financially due to Brexit, due to fewer EU students pursuing postgraduation in the UK and/or due to the dried-up EU funds, it could opt to hike the fees for non-UK students to offset that deficit. Most UK universities are pledging to maintain their international tuition fees so you shouldn’t be worried about a sudden hike in fees. However, you do need to make sure you have the funds to cover your tuition fees in post-Brexit Britain whatever happens to the currency rates.
If you’re a foreign student and hope to work part time in the evenings after college hours, you may be in for some bad news. Most foreign students try to recover their tuition fees by earning some money doing part-time work, and also gaining some work experience in the process. Such part-time work opportunities may not be plenty anymore, thanks to the decline in private sector jobs and the public sector opportunities not rising quickly. But not everything is lost yet. There still is hope and you may still be able to study and work in the UK simultaneously, although you may well have to look around a bit harder.
Comparing the UK and EU
Although the EU comprises 27 countries (after UK’s exit), it has never managed to attract as many potential postgraduate students as the UK, even with all the EU countries put together. This is primarily because almost all UK universities offer their programs in English. Moreover, the United Kingdom has more globally renowned universities than the EU. However, in the last few years, this trend has been changing, with several universities in the EU including France, Spain and Germany offering postgraduate courses taught in English. When opting to study in EU, there is also the added benefit of learning another language. And with the existing anti-immigration current that culminated into the Brexit, the EU is doing everything it can to divert international students’ attention its way. Therefore if you are concerned about embarking on a postgrad program in post-Brexit Britain – it may be worth checking out the postgraduate options in other European countries.
We all know that the UK’s exit from the EU has not been officially finalised yet – and with the UK’s General Election just around the corner it is still not clear who will be leading the country out of the EU. However, the ripples are there to be seen and experienced, and for international students this is good news though (as aforementioned) since there never was a more opportune time for them to study and live in the UK. Their tuition fees, when converted to their home currency, are now down, and in many cases the competition isn’t as tough as it sometimes is. So for the time being it doesn't make much sense to be on the fence about a UK postgraduate degree anymore – it’s time to seize the day and start a UK postgraduate program.