There is no reason why the United Kingdom should have to pay "large" sums to the European Union to continue trading with it after Brexit, Boris Johnson has said.
Critics say leaving the single market would be an "act of self-harm".
"That, is obviously something that David Davis is considering", Johnson said, drawing a clear line between the education and research programs and paying for market access as Norway and Switzerland do now.
Davis said the government would look at the options during the article 50 process over the next two years.
But speaking on ITV's Peston on Sunday the Foreign Secretary said Britain is the "knowledge capital of the world" and said he "takes the view" students should not be included in the figures.
"I want every North Atlantic Treaty Organisation member to agree to meet the agreed target of spending two percent of GDP on defense", he said. "And I do see a big opportunity for us to spend the money we are getting back on other priorities".
He added however: "I see no reason why those payments should be large".
Oklahoma State rivalry reaches new level
Bob Stoops won't be adding to his playoff resume this season, but yet another notch to his conference pedigree will be added. They have relied on their defense and we expect an old school Big Ten defensive battle to take place this Saturday Night.
Mr Johnson acknowledged that Brexit negotiations were likely to be hard at times but he said that there remained a lot of goodwill towards Britain despite the vote to leave the EU.
The Foreign Secretary said that he does not believe the payments to the European should be "large" as he insisted that "we will take back control of the money we give to Brussels".
The Observer reported members of May's own party are anxious they could lose the next general election, timed for 2020, if her Brexit push ends up alienating moderate supporters.
By contrast, Paul Nuttall, the new leader of the U.K. Independence Party, said on the BBC that "we're on a slippery slope" in making concessions from the "clean Brexit" voters want.
"There will be more sturm und drang (storm and stress) between now and the end of the negotiations and it may get pretty hairy at times and there may be some hard bits but beneath it all there is a massive fondness for the United Kingdom and the desire to do the best possible deal".
In a wide-ranging interview, Mr Johnson also defended his stance on free movement rules, saying it was possible for the United Kingdom reduce migration to a "reasonable level" while remaining an "open and dynamic economy".
Moments later, Keir Starmer, the shadow secretary of state for Brexit, slammed Johnson's remarks, accusing him and the May government of obfuscating on the most crucial issues.