June 28th, 2016
After a momentous victory for the leave campaign was announced on Friday morning there was a slide into chaos.The market and the pound fell off a cliff, the prime minister resigned and the opposition descended into civil war. All in all it wasn’t a fantastic first day of freedom but as of Tuesday the markets have recovered, the pound is rising and a plan seems to be forming for Brexit. Crisis? What Crisis?
There is the issue of students though and with one of the biggest international student communities in the world Britain needs to formulate a plan to accommodate these students and ensure a seamless transition for them.
A ‘Leave’ vote, many argued, could upend British higher education by treating students from EU nations the same as other international students instead of as near-equals to Brits themselves. That change could hike tuition for EU students and cut them off from the U.K.’s generous loan terms, effectively serving as a deterrent for such pupils considering pursuing a British education as they access loans based on the UK’s membership in the bloc, which is now in post-Brexit limbo.
In the lead-up to the U.K.’s European Union referendum last week, U.K. university leaders were among the most adamant about remaining in the EU. Under the EU’s “free movement” principal, students from member countries have the same access to universities in the U.K. as Brits themselves. They apply the same way, pay the same tuition (now some £9,000 per year), and rely on the same U.K. loan facilities, whose terms—that borrowers only have to pay back loans once they reach annual earnings of £21,000—are generous, at least compared to U.S. standards. There was a fear that if the U.K. exited the EU, students from other EU nations would lose those privileges and be thrust into the same pool as other international students who face higher tuition fees and don’t enjoy the same right of access to the U.K.’s loan program.
Luckily there doesn’t seem to be any suggestions that there will be a decrease in university applications for the coming academic year and no real suggestions that there will be a significant drop in coming years either. One issue for students recently has been the noticeable lack of quality accommodation and this has been largely addressed thanks to private investment in the sector. Large projects are now appearing at the majority of large campuses around the country. Typically requiring lower immediate capital than normal off-plan properties the student accommodation projects have proved popular with investors as they see high yields and good tenancy rates with high demand. As the schemes are becoming more popular the news that students aren’t set to be too badly affected will reassure investors that the student property market is still sound with good returns.
Regardless of the result things have been mainly ‘business as usual’ and this seems to indicate much of the same. As with other sectors affected things aren’t simple but, broadly speaking, we can expect things to continue much the same, with investors set to benefit.