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Scottish Universities

Volume 615: debated on Thursday 20 October 2016

15. Whether he has met representatives of Scotland's universities to discuss the implications of the UK leaving the EU. (906703)

We have engaged with a number of higher education institutions, including groups such as Universities UK. Over the next few months, the Department will continue to engage with key stakeholders in business and civil society, including universities, through a series of round tables, bilaterals and visits throughout the UK. We have been clear we want to create an environment in which the UK as a whole can continue to be a world leader in research, science and tertiary education.

There are 4,512 students at the University of Edinburgh from other EU countries and several thousand other EU nationals engaged in research, teaching and administration at the university. I ask Ministers again: do they not realise that the refusal to guarantee the status of those people in our community is placing in jeopardy much of the work of that great institution and is causing unnecessary anxiety in our community?

I refer the hon. Gentleman to the answers I gave earlier on the Government’s full intention to secure the rights of EU citizens in the UK and UK citizens in the EU. The Government recently announced that EU students applying for a place at an English university or further education institution in 2017-18 will continue to be eligible for student loans and grants for the duration of their course, and I believe the Scottish Government have made the same guarantee.