Policy Briefing

Policy briefing: Trade in HE services and research - negotiating Brexit

11 Oct 2016

UK universities have forged extremely successful and beneficial relationships with the European Union (EU). In terms of research funding, Additionally, the trading relationships established through the UK’s membership of the European Union mean that the UK has been able to export education without any tariff barriers to a market of over 500 million people. The primary target of these exports  are EU students who study at UK universities.

The value of EU students to the UK economy is at least of equal significance to the research funding awarded from EU programmes. This value arises not just from the approximately £250m worth of tuition fees each year, but from additional on and off-campus expenditure by students and expenditure by staff. This equates to around £4bn of economic output to the UK each year.

This policy briefing reviews information published by Universities UK and data collected by the Higher Education Statistics Authority (HESA) to analyse the value of the UK’s EU educational export market to the UK economy. It also identifies the impact of this trading relationship in each devolved administration of the UK and in each English region.

The ability of UK universities to trade with EU countries in HE services and research is fundamental to a successful economy. Securing the future of all of these relationships – not solely those related to research – must be central to the negotiations to exit the European Union. This is why we also set out a series of recommendations for government.