The Guardian reports that a last-minute rush to study at British universities before Brexit closes the door may be behind a rise in applications from EU students, according to the latest figures for courses starting in autumn.
After last year’s slump in applications from European students in the aftermath of the EU referendum and widespread uncertainty over funding, British universities report an upturn in numbers received by January’s deadline for undergraduate entries.
The rise in international applications, including a record number from students outside the EU, helped disguise modest domestic figures showing a 3% fall in applications, the second successive decline following a 4% drop last year.
Prof Seán Hand, University of Warwick’s deputy pro-vice-chancellor for Europe, said applications from EU students had risen by 10%.
“Paradoxically, Brexit has focused people’s attention on the strength of British universities,” said Hand, who noted that Warwick was continuing to hold talks with EU universities over closer partnerships.
University admissions officers said the government’s guarantee for EU students starting in 2018 was viewed by some as a last chance to study in the UK on the same terms as UK students for the duration of their degree.
The figures from Ucas, the applications clearing house, show that 43,500 EU students applied for places as undergraduates, a 3% rise from the same point in 2017 and the second highest number recorded, reversing last year’s sharp fall.
Applications from 18-year-old men living in the most disadvantaged areas also fell, a trend described as very worrying by social mobility campaigners at the Sutton Trust.
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