It is January and the application deadline for the academic term starting in autumn has come. This year, universities across the UK had a gratifying surprise in reference to the origin of the applications.
After last year’s sharp decline by 7% in applications from EU-students for universities in the UK, experts and academics were panicking about one of the many disadvantages of Brexit and how the decision to leave the European Union will damage the cooperation between universities not just in Europe but internationally. This is not without reason, as it was the first decline in applications from EU-students, after over a decade of exponential growth of foreign students willing to test the good reputation of UK’s high education system.
‘It would mean a rise of 3% from the same point back in 2017, and the second highest number recorded in UK history.’
Apparently, Brexit has motivated many students from the EU to study in the UK before Brexit definitely closes the door of equal conditions and fees between EU and UK-students. University admission officers stated that the on-going guarantee the government offers for EU-students in 2018 is seen as a last chance to study in the UK with the same terms as UK-students for the duration of a degree. Figures from the applications clearing house, short UCAS, published that around 43,500 EU-students applied for University spots as undergraduates. Consequently, it would mean a rise of 3% from the same point back in 2017, and the second highest number recorded in UK history. Furthermore, the sum of applications from International and EU-students in this year reached the mark of 100,000 for the first time.
Despite the threat of Brexit’s unfavourable influence in the European Universities co-operations in the future, UCAS confirmed that the UK’s Universities would not lack internationality, as they have maintained a steady income of applications worldwide, especially from China and India. In addition, the unpopularity of the US President’s policy has also brought a rise in applications from Mexican students as well. In contrast to this happy news for diversity in University, there was also a decline in applications from UK-students; Universities received 12,400 fewer domestic applications this year, in opposition to the 7,300 more application from overseas students. Experts explain that this is due to a demographic change, as there are less 18 and 19 year olds in the UK as in earlier years.
The chief executive of Universities UK commented ‘The increase in international applications shows that the UK remains one of the most attractive destinations in the world for talented, international students’. There are further reasons for overseas students to choose a University in the UK this year, as it has become more economical thanks to the weaker pound and the confirmation that they can also benefit from the existing financial support arrangements. Universities had also made an effort in ramping up overseas recruiting strategies, and the results have been evidently positive. Therefore the academic life in the UK does not have to worry about internationality; solely the University of Portsmouth hosts currently over 5,000 International and EU students.