These past few weeks, “Brexit” was one of the strangest yet most discussed terms that has garnered attention from every major news outlet due to its importance and relevance to the world. Even noted comedian and news critique John Oliver has weighed in on the matter. The fact of the matter is that despite this heavy news coverage, people on this side of the globe aren’t very familiar with the subject. For those of you who already know what Brexit is, bear with me as I attempt to explain the matter before delving into its impacts on international students.
Back in December 2015, the United Kingdom Parliament approved the European Union Referendum Act 2015. This Act dictated that a vote on the status on the UK membership within the EU was to be held no later than the 31st of December, 2017. Then in February of 2016, David Cameron announced the referendum will be held on the 23rd of June, 2016 (yesterday). But still, what does this mean? The EU referendum discussed whether or not will the United Kingdom remain within the EU or not. Based on the results of this referendum, the UK will either remain part of the European Economic Community or not. This Common Market agreement essentially states that all countries subject to the EEC will be subject to common laws to be set by the European Union. Laws such as free trade and open borders between the EU countries. This also include membership fees to be paid by each country to the EEC (part of which will be refunded as funding or in-kind contributions by the Union to the participating countries). The EU referendum is supposed to determine whether the UK will remain in the EEC or if it will pull off a Brexit (British Exit).
This brings us all the way to today when Brexit has happened! Essentially Britain voted to leave the EU and all economic hell is breaking loose. You see, by pulling off a Brexit, Britain is now in a sort of a pickle. Half of all British exports are to the EU and all are performed under the open borders and no tariffs act. But now that Brexit has happened new trade deals need to be put into effect in order to manage the trade. And all EU citizens formerly considered as “family”, have now essentially become foreigners. This has sent the world into economic frenzy. The Sterling dropped to its 1985 low of 1.35$ down from 1.6$ just yesterday morning! Economists are very apprehensive of the coming phases, and “The Economist” magazine believes that this 30 year low of the GBP is a mere taste of what is to come.
This collapse though extremely alarming is actually a major opportunity for international students! Where a 10,000 GPB tuition was worth 16,000$ yesterday is now 13,000$! That’s a 3,000$ plummet overnight and this is due to the fact that UK universities tuitions are in GPB. If this decline continues, education in the UK will be cheaper than ever for international students (Barring some major price hike). Britain will be moving into a time of extreme uncertainty in the near future causing an unprecedented era of economic instability that might lead to what could possibly be a recession. But for the short term, a window of golden opportunity has opened up to students wishing to study in the UK allowing them to get a top ranked education for a fraction of the original price.
How long will this window be open before inflation and price hikes happen? No one knows. But the time to take advantage of it is now! This is the perfect storm for students, just like the fact that a market in recession represents the perfect opportunity for shrewd investors like Warren Buffet. The rule of thumb is to buy low and sell high, and while there you can’t sell your education, you can still buy it at a much cheaper price than you could just yesterday!