SCHOOL'S OUT

Thanks to Brexit, even Oxford is thinking of absconding to France

With the UK soon leaving the European Union, many British teenagers are looking elsewhere for their future studies. It turns out British universities are also considering going abroad.

Back in the fall, several UK institutions expressed interest in opening outpost campuses in EU countries, a move that would kill three birds with one stone by allowing schools to retain staff only authorized to work in the EU, keep up smooth partnerships with European schools, and maintain the flow of foreign grant money. Now one target country has been set: France.

Former French education minister Jean-Michel Blanquer confirmed rumors this week that French institutions are working to give several British universities a second home.

Among those universities is Oxford, the oldest school in the country, which has never operated a foreign branch in its 700-year history. French officials say an Oxford outpost in Paris would automatically obtain legal status and would continue receiving EU funding after Brexit; construction could begin as soon as 2018.

A final decision hasn’t been made, and Oxford isn’t disclosing any particulars, such as how large or independent a French outpost would be, or whether students would be able to apply to the French school separately. “Oxford has been an international university throughout its history and it is determined to remain open to the world whatever the future political landscape looks like,” a spokesman said when asked about the matter.

France is in many ways a logical choice for UK schools—the Seine would make for a nice place to row—but also an unexpected one. When discussing countries for possible outposts in September, one British vice-chancellor said he was told, “If you are looking anywhere, don’t look at France, because it’s a nightmare.”

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