UCAS has reported a rise in applications to UK universities from EU students, despite the fears that Brexit would discourage applications from outside the UK.
Last year, the fall in the number of EU applicants was blamed on the decision to leave the EU, but this year the number of EU students applying to study in the UK rose by 3.4% to 43,150.
The number of international applications has also risen to 58,450, a record number.
This rise has been attributed to the government’s commitment to continue the financial aid currently given to EU students for those that apply for courses beginning in 2018, even if the course concludes after the UK’s exit from the EU.
For many students who are unable to afford to pay international fees this may be their last opportunity to study in the UK
For many students who are unable to afford to pay international student fees this may be their last opportunity to study in the UK.
Currently, EU students are eligible for home fee status for undergraduate, master’s, postgraduate and advanced learner courses, and receive access to the same financial aid as UK students.
Besides the guarantee of financial support, many have pointed to the weakness of the pound for drawing EU students to the UK.
The Director of External Relations at UCAS, Helen Thorne, has said: “The weaker pound makes the UK a cost effective place to study and the Government’s confirmation that EU students starting courses this autumn will be able to benefit from the existing financial support arrangements will have been beneficial.”
This may allay some of the fears that Brexit would result in a vast decline in EU and international students coming to study at UK universities, costing universities millions in the loss of fees and also reducing the diversity of the student body seen in universities at present.
This may allay some of the fears that Brexit would result in a vast decline in EU and international students
Yet, it remains unclear what future application rates will look like, as Theresa May has recently suggested that her stance towards international students has softened, admitting that they have no long-term effect on migration numbers.
However, she maintained that they should not be taken out of the official migration statistics.
The probable loss of the current financial support for EU students is leading many to assume that applications to UK universities from the EU will fall in future years.