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6 February 2019, 07:41
Universities are urging the Government to continue funding study abroad in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
On Wednesday Universities UK (UUK) launched a national #SupportStudyAbroad campaign asking the Government to commit to ensuring funds for international study, even if the UK cannot negotiate continued participation in the Erasmus+ programme.
The body, which represents 136 universities in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, said that without the money 17,000 students would miss out on opportunities to study abroad next year.
Alistair Jarvis, UUK chief executive, said: "The benefits of study abroad are well documented.
"Not only does study abroad have clear employability benefits for students, it helps them to develop the language, communication and intercultural skills that will be so essential to building a truly global Britain.
"An investment in international experience for our students now is an investment in the future of our economy.
"Without the international opportunities offered through schemes like Erasmus, the UK's workforce will not be equipped to meet the changing needs of the economy post-Brexit.
"In the case of a no-deal Brexit, I strongly urge the Government to commit to continue funding study abroad opportunities for UK students, even if the UK cannot negotiate continued participation in the Erasmus+ programme."
Last month the Government released a technical note on the future of the UK's Erasmus+ membership.
The UUK campaign is in response to the note not setting out an alternative provision for overseas study.
UUK argues that study abroad supports social mobility and helps students develop skills UK businesses need.
The Erasmus+ programme, which started in 2014 and was due run until 2020, is an exchange for university students to study or work in another EU country.
It gives students in higher education the chance to study in Europe for three to 12 months as part of their degree.
Eligible students receive an Erasmus+ grant provided by the European Commission - this is paid through their university.
UK students going abroad for the whole academic year may also qualify for a large contribution made towards their UK tuition fees for the year they are away.
Students with a severe disability or exceptional special needs may be entitled to extra funding to cover associated costs while abroad.