A hard Brexit could cause the “biggest disaster” in higher education for many years, academics have warned MPs.
Leading professors told the Education Select Committee that such a move would make UK universities “extremely uncompetitive”, while others shared fears it would “cut off the flow of excellent people who are coming at the moment”.
Undergraduate applications from EU students at Cambridge University have already dropped 14%, the Press Association reported.
Postgraduate students have also been deterred from heading to the UK due to hostility towards immigrants, the devaluation of the pound and uncertainty over research projects, academics said.
Hard Brexit would “probably be the biggest disaster for the universities sector in many years,” Alistair Fitt, vice-chancellor of Oxford Brookes University, added.
Engineering Professors’ Council president Stephanie Haywood pointed out that Britain would still need to employ thousands of engineers from Europe to fill the gap of 40,000 graduate staff in the industry.
Anne Corbett, an associate at LSE Enterprise, called on ministers to take action to halt any potential “brain drain”.