New figures show that the number of EU students applying to study in the UK has fallen since Brexit.
Data released by Ucas (the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service), shows that some 6,240 EU students applied to the early deadline this year, a 9 per cent decrease on the 6,860 who applied last year. This reverses a four-year trend in annual increases.
Brexit is regarded as the main driving factor behind the fall. Following the referendum, uncertainty over funding for EU students left prospective undergraduates questioning their eligiblity for loans and grants.
Under the current system, EU students are eligible to receive undergraduate tuition fee loans if they have lived in the European Economic Area for at least three years prior to starting university. Tuition fees for EU undergraduates are currently set at the same rate as home-students.
It would seem that this uncertainty is now impacting on the number of EU-based students choosing to study in the UK.
Professor Alan Smithers, director of the Centre for Education and Employment Research at the University of Buckingham, commented on the “striking” figures, saying he was “surprised” by the report.
“It does look as though Brexit is having an effect,” he said. “It could be that potential EU applicants are concerned that the student loans would no longer be available to them, or they are less sure (quite needlessly) of the reception they would get.”
He continued: “In the short term, universities must point out these figures and persuade the Government to make it clear that the conditions of admissions are not going to change.”
There was however a 3 per cent rise in the number of UK applicants and a 1 per cent rise in overseas students from outside of the EU to the same deadline.
Article published 27th October 2016