UK universities plummet in global rankings post-Brexit while concerns are raised for community cohesion
In this year’s QS world University Rankings, 38 of the UK’s top-4oo universities have plummeted in the rankings. The University of Cambridge has dropped out of the top global 3 for the first time since 2004. In light of these consequences, concerns are being raised for future funding prospects for British universities, as a future without the EU is still unclear.
However, in spite of a general downturn among UK Higher Education, the University of Manchester has achieved its higher ever ranking this year as 29th. When asked about potential fears of cuts to funding for the University of Manchester, Vice-Chancellor Dame Nancy Rothwell said ‘we’ve not known of any European grants that we’ve been cut out of (and) I’ve not known of any European staff that have left’. The fear among the UK’s higher education, however, remains prominent.
Dame Julia Goodfellow, president of Universities UK (UUK), said that urgent action is necessary to prevent “a likely sudden decline in EU applications” across the country.
In addition to funding scares, there is a growing worry that Brexit has severed community ties between university communities and the wider British population. Some members of local communities in university towns reportedly believe that the pro-EU university campaigns were mostly self-interested and detached from the wider community.
The University of Manchester’s Community Officer, Saffa Mir, said that “the student union does a lot of work with connecting the student community with the wider Manchester Community from Access All Areas, who support any student-led project which aims to tackle some of the barriers young people and adults may face in terms of University access and participation, to Student Action who run a huge number of student-led weekly volunteering projects and one off events helping people in the local community.”
Moreover, she highlighted ‘Community Week’ which will take place on 5th December where students run community projects “with the aim to reconnect the students with local residents and create community cohesion.”
Despite the University of Manchester’s success in the world tables and commitment to community healing post-Brexit, there are still widespread fears regarding the impacts of leaving the EU on UK Higher Education which are yet to emerge.