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Dundee University Principal warns Brexit will have ‘implications’ for higher education in Tayside

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Local  universities have moved to reassure European staff and students amid fears about their future following Brexit.

Dundee University has also confirmed it will foot the bill for its EU students if their funding arrangements change during the course of their study.

The institution has also encouraged those applying for entry in the next academic year to do so in the usual manner.

However, a lot of question marks still hang over the long-term status of EU nationals in the UK, as well as EU initiatives and funding.

Addressing staff and students, Dundee University Principal and Vice Chancellor, Professor Sir Pete Downes, said: “The result of the EU referendum will undoubtedly have implications for higher education but no matter what comes in the future we will ensure that our university continues to be an international one, with staff and students from across the EU and beyond.

“Our immediate priority is to assure staff and students from the EU that nothing will change in the short term.

“For EU applicants who have been made an offer to begin study at Dundee in autumn 2016 or in January 2017 (or Sept 2017 deferred entry) I can assure them that if there is any change in funding for EU students during their course of study the university will cover the cost of any tuition fees to allow them to complete their degree studies.

“Given the complexity of exit negotiations from the EU it is extremely unlikely that the current process and funding arrangements for students will change significantly in the short term.

“We are therefore encouraging those who are considering applying for 2017 entry onwards to do so in the usual way.

“There will also be no immediate impact on initiatives that are a core part of our EU engagement, including in research, such as the Horizon 2020 programme and the Erasmus exchange schemes.”

Abertay University currently has around 400 non UK EU students, whose future in the UK remains unclear.

A spokesman from Abertay said: “At present, it is difficult to foresee the precise consequences of the vote.

“But we do want to reassure all colleagues who will be directly affected by the changes that lie ahead, that everyone in the university greatly values your contributions to the Abertay community.

“We will do whatever is within our power to inform and support you as the arrangements for the UK to leave the EU are developed and implemented over the coming months and years.”

St Andrew’s University Principlal, Professor Sally Mapstone, warned of “disruptive” times ahead but gave reassurance that the university will continue to be European and outward looking.

She said: “This will inevitably be a disruptive time, but in such times the values of quality, community and enquiry for which this university stands and which bind us together are more important than ever.

“St Andrews is outward looking, international and European, and we will go on being so.

Scholarship transcends national boundaries, and while a Brexit poses challenges for universities in terms of research funding and the mobility of our staff and students, we will have time to weigh those challenges, and opportunities, and to develop considered strategy in response.”

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