Last minute rush for EU students applying for UK universities

Despite fears that Brexit would make the UK less appealing to international students, new figures have shown that it might not be the case. According to UCAS, the number of applications from EU students has risen this year for courses starting in the autumn. Last year’s slump in applications lead to fears over the future of the UK’s universities.

Uncertainty over funding is considered the biggest deterrent. However, this year has seen a last minute rush from students in the EU to gain places before the Brexit deadline. Alistair Jarvis, the chief executive of Universities UK, said: “The increase in international applications shows that the UK remains one of the most attractive destinations in the world for talented, international students.”

Some of the UK’s leading universities, like UCL and Warwick have said that they’ve seen a substantial rise in interest from applicants even though competition globally continues to be fierce. According to Prof Seán Hand, University of Warwick’s deputy pro-vice-chancellor for Europe, applications from students in the EU has increased by a massive 10% this year. “Paradoxically, Brexit has focused people’s attention on the strength of British universities,” he said.

He also noted that Warwick, like other universities in the UK, are currently holding talks with EU universities in order to secure closer partnerships in the future. He said “European students appreciate that universities such as Warwick, with strong international connections in research and teaching, would be a place for the best kind of education.”

UCL’s -provost for education and student affairs, Prof Anthony Smith, added that they had seen a rise in applications from  both domestic and international students, and he was “delighted with the figures”. “This year’s applications reaffirm our status as a global university with one of the biggest multinational student bodies in the UK,” he said. “They show that students from the EU and further abroad continue to want a first-class UK higher education, which bodes well for the future post-Brexit.”

The recent government guarantee that ensures EU students starting this year would receive the same terms as UK students throughout their study is thought to be one of the main drivers in the increase in applications. Figures from UCAS show that 43,500 EU students applied this year, which is the highest number ever recorded and 3% higher than last year. UCAS data has also shown that domestic applications seem to be going up. Despite the fears over student debt, over 37% of 18 year olds in the UK applied to go to university this year.

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