EU exit: action plan for further and higher education

Our latest understanding of what Brexit would mean for Scotland's further and higher education sectors, and what we as a responsible government are doing to mitigate these risks.


  • Scotland’s story, and especially that of our colleges and universities, has been shaped by our close relationship with Europe. Today, our colleges and universities increasingly work together to expand their impact, but we have always recognised that co-operation within Scotland or the UK alone is never enough for real success. World-leading success comes from reaching out beyond our borders across the globe – and, of course, across Europe – to add value to research endeavours and the education of our students.
  • Scotland builds on a great history that goes back centuries to our early links to Europe. Europe influenced Scotland, and Scotland influenced Europe and the world. The Scottish enlightenment figures David Hume, Adam Smith and James Hutton changed our way of thinking about the world and our economy.
  • Scientists and researchers in Scotland continue to shape society, while students from around the world continue to see Scotland as one of the top destinations for study. Our excellent research base, which comprises universities, research institutes and public research bodies, as well as third and private sector activity, is having a positive impact on many aspects of Scottish society. Four of our universities are in the latest Times Higher Education’s Top 200.
  • Brexit, however, poses a huge threat to this excellence. Our membership of the EU provides enormous benefits for our institutions: from the EU citizens who choose to come and work and study here, to the large amounts of competitive EU research and innovation funding won and supporting international collaboration, to the support it provides up-skilling our workforce, to the opportunity offered to our students and staff to live, work, and study abroad, for example on the Erasmus+ programme.
  • It is our view that the best future for Scotland is the one 62% of Scottish voters chose: to remain in the European Union.



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