Brexit: EU applicants still want to study in the UK

File photo dated 16/07/08 of university graduates. According to Universities UK, thousands of students could lose out on funding to study abroad if the UK opts for a no-deal Brexit.

An unexpected rise of EU applicants to study at UK universities was confirmed today by new figures.

While consequences for EU students post-Brexit are still unclear, the number of applicants has increased by one per cent.

The numbers, based on undergraduate applications received at UCAS by the 15 January deadline, show a total of 561,420 students applied to start a course on a UK university in 2019. This total, almost 2,500 more than last year, marks the first increase in 3 years.

However, the Brexit situation is still creating doubt about the future of EU students in the UK. The Financial department of the University of Sunderland said:

“We do not doubt that this uncertainty will be factoring into the decision-making of potential students from EU countries and beyond when they are considering whether to study at a UK university.

“One thing that is currently for certain is that, for 2019/20, the UK will continue to provide Tuition Fee Loans for EU students for the duration of their courses here. For 2020/21 starters, however, no decision has yet been made.”

Victoria Philipova, from Bulgaria, was interested in applying for the University of Sunderland early this year but she chose to wait until after Brexit.

She said: “It would be better for me, an EU student, to be able to enter in a UK University in 2019 because it means I don’t need to worry about the rise in tuition fees.

“But at the same time there is always some concern about the future and that is why I am waiting until the end of March.”

In terms of tuition fees, EU students starting in autumn 2019 will be treated the same way as home students and the same fees will apply for the duration of their degree. It is possible that this condition is the major factor that explains the rise in EU applicants.

Professor Thom Brooks, Dean & Chair in Law and Government in Durham University said: “I think that many students will want to take advantage of current benefits to study in the UK while they still can, so the slight rise is not surprising. The real worry is what happens post-Brexit.”

For more information in the recent figures visit https://www.ucas.com/corporate/news-and-key-documents/news/first-rise-university-applications-three-years

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