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Higher Education Minister reassures Aberdeen erasmus students they’re welcome in Scotland

Tuesday February 4th 2020 at 8:30 AM

The cabinet secretary for Higher Education has reassured EU students in Aberdeen that they’re welcome in Scotland.

Richard Lochhead

SNP MSP for Moray, Richard Lochhead, was in the city yesterday to meet with members of the Erasmus+ programme and to confirm the Scottish Government is ramping up efforts to ensure further and higher education is protected after Brexit.

The UK formally left the European Union at 11pm on Friday, 31 December, and entered into an 11-month transition period, in which all EU laws will still apply, while both sides decide what the future relationship will look like.

There are currently concerns about the future of the Erasmus+ programme, which allows students to study, train, and gain experience abroad, with no solid plans in place for any potential replacement.

Mr Lochhead said: “Scotland is an open and inclusive country. EU students will always be welcome here and today we are stepping up our efforts to ensure our universities are seen across Europe as open for business.

“Thousands of Scottish students, teachers and young people have benefitted from the popular Erasmus+ scheme, while at the same time our campuses and country have been enriched by EU nationals choosing to live and study here.

“This much-cherished and respected learning, training and cultural programme is at serious risk – and we are clear that it must continue. Over the coming weeks we will make the case strongly to the UK Government that continued association with Erasmus+ is of the utmost importance.

“In the event the UK Government decides to abandon the programme, we will also be looking at the possibility of Scotland associating unilaterally.”

More than 2,000 Scottish higher Education students take part in the programme every year, a higher proportion than from any other county in the UK.

Between 2014 and 2018, 14,000 participants from north of the border took part in the EU-led scheme, which has run for the the last 30 years.

At the start of this academic year, there were 2,655 European students from 33 countries enrolled at Aberdeen University, and 709 staff, 17% of its workforce, giving it one of the largest European campus populations in Scotland.

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