Brexit-Student Perspectives

Brexit 01

polling station

Photo credit:

At the time of writing, it’s been one week since Brexit and following all the fallout and debate, we wanted to gather some opinions on the result. With 75% of 18 to 24-year-olds voting to remain in the EU, who better to ask than students.

Student concerns

Prior to the referendum, online discount site MyVoucherCodes surveyed just under 2,500 students to find nearly half (48 percent) feel neither campaign had shed any light on how Brexit would really affect daily life. The results (displayed below) show the concerns students have about leaving the EU in relation to the survey.

Top 10 student worries about leaving the EU:

Harder to travel around Europe – 64%
Harder to gain work in Europe – 49%
Effect on employment post-university – 46%
Loss of education funding from EU grants – 45%
Harder to study in Europe – 41%
Rise in loans interest rates – 38%
Harder for UK and European universities to collaborate – 28%
European students facing higher fees in the UK – 17%
Issues for EU nationals currently studying in UK – 15%
Less protection for workers’ rights – 13%

Published in the Telegraph, Boris Johnson released this statement addressing the public’s concerns about leaving the EU. In his statement, he talked about the effects it will have on education and travel, two of the top 10 worries for students.

“Britain is part of Europe and always will be”

– Boris Johnson

“British people will still be able to go and work in the EU; to live; to travel; to study; to buy homes and to settle down. There will continue to be free trade, and access to the single market. Britain is and always will be a great European power, offering top-table opinions and giving leadership on everything from foreign policy to defence to counter-terrorism and intelligence-sharing – all the things we need to do together to make our world safer.”

David Cameron, whilst interviewed by the Impartial Reporter, commented on the risk of leaving the EU. Focusing on the trade relationship with the EU, he outlined the benefits this has for the UK.

“If we left we’d lose our say”

– David Cameron

“The UK has free trade with the rest of the EU, including the Republic of Ireland, because we are in a single market. That means no tariffs, no barriers; meaning more jobs, prosperity and opportunities. It’s improved living standards for people in the UK and Ireland immeasurably.”
“There’s also the fact that, within the EU, we have a seat at the table to decide the rules on exporting across Europe. If we left, we’d lose our say.”

With all this debate and discussion, it’s understandable why students and the general public are confused on the implications of leaving the EU.

“I’m struggling to see the benefits of leaving the EU”

– Beth Stevens, 20

“The pound has crashed already, mortgages are going up and it’s now harder for us all to travel. I’m struggling to see the benefits of leaving the EU, especially as promises made in the ‘leave’ campaign by Farage are now being denied such as spending the £350 billion saved from the EU on the NHS.
It makes me angry that some people have voted ‘leave’ purely based on racism and immigration factors, they neglect to think about British people who work/live abroad in EU countries. It’s an excuse to try and justify racism. In the news already, two polish men have been beaten up and told to leave the country, whilst Muslims are being hurled abuse at, I’m just incredibly disappointed in the result.”

“Our democracy will keep failing until we do”

– Chad Newton, 21

“Britain’s young people overwhelmingly voted to stay in the EU [75%/YouGov Poll]. Why? Because we recognise the benefits to our jobs, our travels, our universities, our security and because we see beyond the racist posters to see the positive benefits of migration. And so I really do see where people are coming from when they see we’ve had our future unfairly taken from us by those who won’t live to see it.
We’re kidding ourselves when we tell ourselves this is a democracy. I really think now is the time that we change our politics at every level to reverse the decades-long rise of youth disengagement. There’s so much we can do to make politics more transparent, accessible, and engaging, our democracy will keep failing until we do”.

“EU funding is essential to the development of the UK”

– Ryan Mottershead, 20

“So Labour are going nowhere, Tories don’t know what they’re doing, UKIP won’t get in because of the way the election works, Lib Dems, who are they? And then the Green Party are just skipping around windmills eating Vegan food, there isn’t a stand out party to lead the country through one of the most difficult and complex procedures in the countries history, well done Britain, well done.
Leaving the EU would be good only if there were agreements from all our trading partners prior to an exit ensuring that British trade doesn’t suffer, but it’s a lot deeper than that. The financial markets and investment in the UK as well as EU funding is essential to the development of the UK”.

Despite the points made previously, not all students are in agreement on the UK’s future in the EU. Here are two perspectives of students welcoming Brexit, believing that leaving the EU will help the UK become a stronger country.

“We can thrive, we always did”

– Chris Bunt, 20

“I feel the reaction of younger people will be pro-EU due to globalisation, we feel connected to everyone through the internet and therefore establish some sort of relationship.
Historically, the British Empire owned 25% of the earth’s land area and one-fifth of the world population, people forget, but in reality we can thrive, we always did”.

“I am pleased with the result to leave”

– Ryan Williams. 20

“I am pleased with the result to leave, the campaign to leave the EU was conducted better in my opinion so I feel it was the right choice. I expected it to be close but I was surprised that leave voters edged it, I thought the fear factor would make people stay in”.

What do we know?

To be honest, we know nothing for sure about the future of the UK (we’d love to tell you otherwise!). However, here is what we do know about the upcoming processes the UK faces.

Leaving the EU means a level of uncertainty for the UK – it has never happened before so the implications that this will have for students is still unclear.
Article 50 triggers the start of a two-year process for the UK to exit the EU.
This means that Britain will now have two years to establish its new relationship with the EU, as well as trade agreements with the rest of the world.
David Cameron has resigned following the result, a new conservative leader will be in post by October.

Let us know your thoughts on the referendum through our social media Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Google+

To keep up with current student blogs and events check out our website and follow us on our social media.