EU Referendum

Reality Check: Your questions answered about education and research

Student in library Image copyright Thinkstock

Lots of you have got in touch with BBC Radio 4's PM programme about what a possible exit from the EU might mean for education and research. We've answered some of your questions below.

The question: Roy asked: "How much do we spend on overseas students studying in UK?"

The answer: A 2014 report by Universities UK said overseas students in the UK contributed more to the British economy through tuition fees and living expenditure than they cost through the services they use.

This report included EU and non-EU students, but they pay different rates of tuition fees.

Students from EU-member states who come to study in the UK pay the same university fees as British students.

Tuition fees for non-EU students are much higher.

In 2014-15, there were close to 440,000 overseas students in the UK, or 19% of the total number of students.

Of these, 29% were students from EU member states and 71% were non-EU students.

According to figures by the Higher Statistics Agency, British and EU students together contributed £10.5bn in tuition fees to the income of British higher education institutions.

This makes up 32% of their overall income.

We do not have any figures for the contribution of EU students from outside the UK.

Non-EU students paid a total of £4.2bn in student course fees - so that is 13% of overall income.

Image copyright SPL

The question: Juan Rodriguez asked on Facebook: "If the UK votes to leave, what would be the impact on Erasmus students?"

The answer: The Erasmus+ Programme is an EU exchange programme established in 1987. It gives university students the opportunity to study in another EU-member state or Turkey, Norway, Iceland, Macedonia, and Liechtenstein for up to 12 months.

If the UK voted to leave the EU, nothing should change immediately as all the current arrangements would stay in place for at least the first two years of negotiation.

So it's unlikely that Erasmus students in the UK or British students taking part in the Erasmus programme in other countries would be affected.

What would happen next would depend on the kind of deal the UK and the EU came to in the exit negotiations, but leaving the EU does not necessarily mean that students could no longer benefit from it. Read our full Reality Check on this here.

We do not have concrete figures on how many UK students are currently studying in Erasmus participating countries - but we do know that in 2013-14 more than 15,000 students from the UK took part in it.

The question: Steven asked: "What would happen to UK's involvement with the European Space Agency, should the UK decide to leave the EU?"

The answer: The European Space Agency (ESA) and the EU are two separate organisations with different member states, different competencies, and different rules and procedures.

As such, a UK exit from the European Union should not affect the country's involvement with ESA.

More information on the ESA is available on their website.

Keep your questions coming by email ( or via Twitter @BBCRealityCheck and we'll answer as many as we can before 23 June.

Read more: The facts behind claims in the EU debate

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