As 46 million UK voters get the chance to say 'remain' or 'leave' the European Union today, WUP considers the effect a 'leave' vote would have on Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences (WUAS).
From an initial point of view, the UK leaving the EU in a so-called 'Brexit' might be attractive to Dutch higher education institutions that offer a similar education product to international students, as surveys carried out amongst EU and non-EU students currently studying at UK universities.
UK international students recently have shown that they consider the UK to be less attractive study destination 'out' of Europe. The Netherlands is well placed to offer alternative programmes to international students, and especially EU students can enjoy much lower fees when studying in Holland. A Brexit could mean that EU international students will have to pay the higher fees that non-EU students pay, and would not be eligible to receive the tuition fee loans, which is currently the case.
Critics to this say that that the UK higher education reputation is robust and will continue to attract foreign students in the same way as it has always done.
WUAS might benefit from Brexit in one aspect - it offers UK degrees in Business, Hospitality, Tourism, Events and Sports Management, however as the Netherlands is in the European Union it will not be hampered by a Brexit, in what it can offer EU students, however it is the provision of these UK degrees that could present an issue.
WUAS enjoys a close partnership with the UK University of Brighton, and is validated to offer University of Brighton bachelor's and master's degrees in the areas mentioned. The partnership is seen by both sides to be strategic, and integral and the programmes are offered jointly - through joint delivery and joint admissions and programme management.
The joint delivery is carried out throughout the year, with at times 3 University of Brighton lecturers teaching at WUAS in one particular week. All modules are joint taught, with a WUAS and UofB lecturer sharing the teaching, the assessment and the curriculum development. Also at programme management level the coordination of students and teachers is shared between Apeldoorn and Eastbourne / Brighton.
To make this possible, WUAS and University of Brighton are making full use of the freedom of movement (and employment) across the European Union. If the UK votes 'Brexit' Wittenborg's relationship with the University of Brighton may become more complex.
Wittenborg University's chair, Peter Birdsall, himself a UK national, remains confident that the UK will vote to remain in the European Union. "I am convinced that the leave vote campaign hasn't made its case strongly enough to the UK voters and most people have seen through the 'hype'. I'm pretty sure that I won't need to apply for a residence card tomorrow - although luckily my other non-EU nationality has made good arrangements with the EU" Birdsall adds, with a laugh. Birdsall also has Swiss nationality, and although Switzerland is not in the EU, it has made many arrangements with the European Union that allow its nationals to freely live and work throughout the union.