By Jack Taylor
A No-Deal Brexit poses a threat to Erasmus funding, students have been told.
Potential Erasmus students have been warned by the University that government notices “cast doubt” over funding for placements set to take place in 2019/20.
The Erasmus+ scheme gives Durham students the opportunity to study abroad as part of their degree. The University also receives students from other countries to study in Durham each year.
The email, sent to prospective exchange students, also explained that the University is “optimistic” about the security of funding for 2018/19 placements.
A student currently applying for a placement in 2019-20 told Palatinate: “Doing an Erasmus scheme has always been really important to me. It’s such a unique experience and there are so many skills and benefits I believe are to be gained from a year abroad.
The University are “optimistic” about the security of funding for 2018/19 placements
“I think it’s very scary that there may not be funding for the scheme after Brexit. A year abroad should be something that is affordable to all students who wish to take one and I am now worried about being able to cover the costs of flights, accommodation and livings costs in the city I am planning to move to next year.”
The news contradicts an assurance issued by the government in July 2018, where they promised to underwrite the payment of Erasmus funding in the event of a No-Deal Brexit.
The European Commission has proposed measures to avoid the disruption of Erasmus+ learning activities in the event of a No-Deal scenario.
The University has said that they are working with European partners to ensure bilateral agreements are in place to mirror existing Erasmus partnerships.
Students applying for Erasmus placements in 2019-20 have nonetheless been advised to continue their applications despite the uncertainty around funding.
“We hope that in the case of a No-Deal Brexit, the Government would cover costs”
Professor Claire O’Malley, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Global)
Another potential student complained that the issue put uncertainty on their plans for next year. “I don’t know how I would pay for a year abroad without the Erasmus funding.
“It is good to hear that the University is making progress and keeping us updated. To go on a year abroad would be a once in a lifetime opportunity that this scheme has provided for so many students”.
Professor Claire O’Malley, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Global), said: “We believe travelling and living in another country can be a very rewarding experience for our students. For students preparing to study abroad, we offer pre-departure briefings, both at a University level and from individual Departments. We also support exchange students during their time abroad.
“If the UK leaves the EU without a withdrawal agreement, a ‘No-Deal Brexit’, we’re optimistic that EU funding for UK students studying abroad through Erasmus+ during the 2018/19 academic year would continue.
“The situation for the following year is much less clear. We hope that, if there is a ‘No-Deal Brexit’, the UK Government would meet the costs of placements for the 2019/20 academic year, but obviously we cannot guarantee this.
“However, our European student exchanges will continue in 2019/20 and we’re working with our European partners on bilateral arrangements. We will keep our staff and students updated on developments.”