Decline in EU students applications to UK Universities

In the wake of the Brexit vote last June, a sharp drop in the applications to the United Kingdom (UK) Universities from the students coming from countries in the European Union (EU), have been recorded in the first deadline round. This finding was revealed by the latest figures from the Universities and Colleges Application Service (UCAS).

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According to the data released, there was a 9% plunge in the applications for the courses with an October deadline–these includes medicine, dentistry, as well as courses in the Universities of Cambridge and Oxford. Last year recorded 6,860 EU students, while there are 6,240 this year. The number shows the end of the several years of a consecutive surge in the number of applications from EU students.

Meanwhile, the number of applications from domestic students rose to a 3% increase in application to 39,440. There was also a 1% boost in the applications from non-EU students to study in the UK from autumn of next year.

According to Mary Curnock, chief executive of UCAS, they “will be watching the numbers of EU applications in the run-up to the January deadline, especially now that the government has confirmed arrangements for continuing access to student loans for 2017 courses.”

The applications for the early deadline period opened in September, with uncertainty on whether EU students can have access to student loans and grants, as well as whether they would continue to pay domestic student fees.

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Jo Johnson Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation (image from THE)

It was only on 11 October–four days before the deadline–that Jo Johnson, Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation, confirmed that funding and fees arrangements would remain unchanged for EU students enrolling in 2017.

“It is important that we make clear that European students continue to be welcome in coming to the UK to study,” said Nicola Dandridge chief executive of Universities UK. She also stressed that the figures highlight the importance of ensuring prospective European applicants understand the fees and financial support arrangements “well in advance of the application window.”

She also added that the demand for a UK higher education “remains strong” because of its reputation for quality.

Meanwhile, a government spokesperson said it is “too early in the application cycle to predict reliable trends.”