The number of EU students applying to UK universities has dropped by 9 percent, according to recent figures from the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS).
This marks the end of a recent trend which showed increasing numbers of students from the EU choosing to study in the UK.
Following this year’s application deadline for several universities as well as courses in medicine, veterinary science and dentistry, a significant decrease has become apparent in the number of EU students applying.
However, both the number of (non-EU) international students and British students applying for the same courses increased.
Speculation is rife that this phenomenon has been the result of the UK government’s delayed pledge to continue providing financial support for EU students in the wake of Brexit.
The statement released on 11 October by the government guaranteeing equal fees and access to loans for UK and EU students is being blamed by university leaders for coming too late – a mere four days before the Oxbridge application deadline for 2017 entry.
There is now concern at the potentially damaging effect on British universities due to lack of interest from EU students.
In 2012-2013, 5.5 percent of students studying in the UK were from EU countries, generating £3.7 billion for the UK economy and providing 34,000 jobs in local communities, according to Universities UK.
The British Medical Association (BMA) commented on the drop in applications for medicine courses from European students, describing the situation as “particularly worrying.”
Dr Charlie Bell, co-chair of the BMA’s medical student committee, said that “the government should be focusing on creating a health service that can both attract and retain the doctors it needs to deliver the best possible care for patients”.
The effects of Brexit on EU applications to other UK universities remains to be seen, as the deadline for the majority of higher education courses is January 2017.