COVENTRY: EU referendum: The student perspective

The EU referendum is a hot topic in Britain as of late, with the words Brexit and borders being thrown around more than a football on league day, Britain’s future in the EU is patiently waiting in the winds. As millions of Brits are bound to be affected by the shift, students are feeling the pressure just as much as the older generations.

Students from the EU are able to study in other EU nations as “home students” thus putting them in a better financial position than international students. If Britain were to leave the EU, both British and European students studying in either region will be labelled as international students and will be expected to pay almost double the amount of costs.

As important as the impact Britain leaving the EU will have on students is, the impact it’ll have on universities themselves is equally as important. A significant portion of funding for universities come from the European Union. An example of this is Swansea University’s recently opened science and innovation campus, a project that cost £475m and would not have been possible without the input of the EU.

Many of the people chanting “vote out” are under the impression that the UK is under some kind of financial burden due to the fact that the UK pays membership fees to remain in the EU. However, universities in the UK gain a profit from hosting students from the EU. Having provided 11% of the EU’s overall budget, the UK received 15.5% of the funds available during the last seven-year EU funding programme. This means the UK receives more than half of what it pays in membership fees to the EU.

According to statistics from The Guardian, 13% of students support the separation. The reason behind this may stem from the belief that the UK remaining in the EU jeopardises the chances of a stable economy which would in turn have an effect on the amount of money graduates earn in the future. However, the number of EU students in the UK stands at around 125,000, which in turn is estimated to have contributed £2.7bn to the British economy, as well as 19,000 extra jobs.

In conclusion, the EU referendum is one of the most important events in British history, as the scenario of the UK leaving EU will affect residents far and wide, from the sunny shores of Bournemouth to the greying sites of London. Voters are set to make their decision on Thursday 23rd June this year. How will you be voting?

Jerome Beck

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