Yesterday it was revealed that the UK Government is planning to deprive EU students of access to home tuition fee rates from 2020 onwards. Below is the text of a statement I provided to The Guardian, part of which is quoted in their coverage of the story:

This news is disappointing but not surprisingit is an extension of the Hostile Environment policy masterminded by the Home Office and the current Prime Minister. It will increase competition among universities for a diminishing pool of EU students’ fees, and worsen the cut-throat, ethically dubious practices that already exist in international student recruitment. The government already expects educators to work as border guards, and it increasingly expects them to become extortionists as well.

As with many other aspects of the EU, this government has never welcomed EU students and never appreciated the many reciprocal benefits we get from the agreement to charge them home fees, including the benefit of enabling our own students to study in the EU more cheaply or for free. The government should be working to extend the limited benefits currently enjoyed by EU students and staff to all international students and staff, rather than doubling down on its most xenophobic tendencies. Nor should we forget that this will impact directly on a significant body of students from outside the EU: namely, refugee students who have been granted EU status. What will happen to them under these proposed changes?

I fail to see how this squares with our Hard Brexit-supporting universities minister Chris Skidmore’s insistence that our universities should become more ‘global’ in their outlook.

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