New data from YouthSight shows that although UK students claim to be heavily invested in the outcome of the upcoming European Union referendum, roughly two-thirds of students don’t know when the vote will actually take place.
The poll, commissioned by Universities UK, questioned over 2,000 students. 78 per cent of the respondents indicated that they were either certain that they would vote to keep Britain within the EU or would probably vote in favor of staying. Just 13 per cent said that they would be in favor of leaving the EU, with the remainder claiming to be undecided.
Unfortunately, few of those interested students know when they will be able to vote. 63 per cent of respondents did not know the date of the vote (June 23) and 54 per cent did not know which month it would be in.
Because of the late-June date, a significant number of students who are registered to vote in their term-time areas will not be there when the referendum happens. Those students will need to register with their home addresses.
The deadline to register is June 7, and the National Union of Students is working with universities to help convince more students to register in advance.
Data from the Electorial Reform Society shows that just 21 per cent of those in the 18-24 age bracket consider themselves to be “very interested” in the referendum compared to 47 per cent of those over 65. Almost 2 million students are eligible to vote on the referendum.
According to those in the higher education sector, the stakes are high. Richard Brooks, vice-president of the NUS, has tried to rally the nation’s students to active participation in deciding an issue of singular importance:
“The EU referendum is a once-in-a-generation vote. The decision made on 23 June will impact young people and students the most, as they are the ones that will live with the consequences for the longest. If students don’t want their future decided for them, it is essential that as many as possible get out and vote.”
The President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Leicester, Paul Boyle, said that students may play a powerful part in deciding the fate of the nation. He, too, repeated the mantra of “once in a generation” as he called on students at his institution to participate:
“Students in Leicester, together with others up and down the country, could play a decisive role in the EU referendum on 23 June. The EU referendum is a once in a generation decision, so it is all the more vital that young people have their say. I would not want any of our students to lose out on their chance to vote because they were not registered or were registered to vote in the wrong place.
Activating the overwhelmingly-“remain” student body has been a critical mission of campaigners in recent weeks. The referendum will happen at the beginning of the Glastonbury Music Festival, which is set to attract over 130,000 attendees. It also coincides with the European Championships (football) held in France.
Javier Espinoza writes for The Telegraph that UK universities could miss out on research funding from the EU if the nation votes in favor of leaving the Union. On a positive note, a reduction in students coming from EU countries would free up places for British nationals.
According to Reuters, bookmakers are offering 1/6 odds on the Brexit, indicating a greater than 80 per cent probability that the country will vote to remain within the European Union.