According to UCAS, the number of applicants from EU students for top university courses in the UK have dropped by 9%.
Following Brexit, there was concern from both UK and EU students about its impact on studying abroad as well as travelling, particularly in regards to the restriction of free travel for the UK. It is thought this drop is linked to those fears.
Nicole Dandridge, chief executive of Universities UK, linked the fall to uncertainty about government funding for EU students. The lack of clarification received by EU students about any financial support they could receive while studying clearly led to a fewer number applying to study here. In fact, a statement was only issued by the government a short while before the November deadline for particular universities and courses closed this month. Although it stated that funding for EU students would remain the same in 2017, with access to loans, it may have come too late for November applications.
There are two deadlines for UCAS applications. The November one is for Oxford and Cambridge Universities as well as medicine, veterinary and dentistry courses for September 2017. The data describing the 9% drop is for these courses, and Dandridge stated the full picture would only become clear about the January deadline had passed, which makes up 90% of total university undergraduate applications.
Following the government’s clarification of financial support available, it is unsure if EU students will still distance themselves from UK universities following the EU referendum result or not.
The 9% decline marks a turn in application numbers, as applications from EU students were previously on the rise. The number of applicants was 6240, a 620 drop from the steadily increasing climb of previous years.
Contrastingly, the number of total applications has gone up 1% this year. Both Mary Curnock Cook, the chief executive of UCAS, and a government spokesperson claimed this was a positive figure.