Universities see 40% drop in number of EU applicants following Brexit

Students celebrate graduation at Norwich Cathedral

Students celebrate graduation at Norwich Cathedral - Credit: Archant

Newly-released UCAS statistics show that the number of EU citizens applying to study in the UK has dropped by 40% since Brexit.

UCAS reported a 26,010 drop in the numbers of students from the European Union looking to study here this September.

It is a 40% drop and UCAS reports it reflected the uncertainty surrounding the UK's departure from the EU as the government sealed a deal at the eleventh hour.

The numbers are likely to have been impacted by the removal of tuition fee loan and grant support for European students, changes to post-study work rights, and the removal of 'home' status for fees charged to those in the EU.

The service, however, reported a 26% rise in applications from Ireland - jumping to 4,850 applications - and a 17% increase in non-EU applications from countries such as China, India and the USA. This overall led to an increase in UCAS applications by 8.5%.


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Daisy Cooper MP, the Liberal Democrat spokesperson for education, said the drop in EU students showed the government was pursuing its own agenda "at any cost".

She said: "The government promised a good relationship with our closest neighbours, yet today's new figures show that Brexit continues to pull up the drawbridge to Europe and is driving European students away from British universities.

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"Younger people and students voted for an outward-looking Britain, which is connected economically and culturally to our European friends. Yet now, even their classes and campuses will no longer reflect this.

"In addition to the government needlessly taking the UK out of the Erasmus student exchange programme deal, it’s clear that this Conservative government will pursue its own agenda at any cost even if it means damaging the opportunities and experiences for young people in Britain in the process.”

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