After Brexit, the UK’s university population has become “more British,” because the sharp drop in the number of EU students means that the proportion of British students is rising.

According to data from the admissions service Ucas, 15 days after the school-leaving eligibility results were announced, British students now account for 89% of admitted applicants, up from 86% last year.

An analysis by the education consulting company DataHE shows that this year will be the first increase in the proportion of British students since the late 2000s.

The number of UK applicants announced on the result day this year also hit a record high. Although DataHE estimates that after a quiet clean-up period, the final number of students will be approximately 450,000 to 460,000—similar to the 454,000 in 2020, but still There has been an increase over the 2019 figure.

However, in 2021, the number of EU students admitted to UK universities dropped by 59% two weeks after their results were announced, from 27,510 to 11,390. So far this year, the number of non-EU international students has increased by 7% to 44,240.

“This year the number of students in the EU will plummet to levels not seen in decades,” said Mark Corver, co-founder of DataHE and former head of analysis and research at Ucas.

His analysis found that the number of recruits from countries such as Poland and Bulgaria dropped significantly by about 80%. After Brexit, this fall is the first year that EU students must pay full international fees.

In Scotland, the decline of EU students is very obvious, they have changed from not paying any fees to charging international fees. The number of EU students in Scottish institutions fell by 64%, from 3,700 to 1,320.

The decline corresponds to the increase in the number of Scottish students in Scottish universities, which have a cap on the number of students. This year, Scottish students will account for 74% of the Scottish university population, compared with 71% last year.

Corver said that for the financial director, the decline in EU numbers may not be as bad as it seems, because they are now paying huge fees as international students.

“One of the things we said [to universities] It is we hope that British students will become more important in terms of numbers, finances, etc., because the demand here may grow faster than elsewhere,” he added.

Nick Hillman, director of the Higher Education Policy Institute, said that although there are some positives — especially in Scotland, where the supply and demand of local applicants have not matched over the years — people are worried about future changes in the international ratio.

“I am obviously happy that many British students will benefit from going to university, but the balance is worrying,” he said. “One reason is that all educational environments, including universities, are best when students are diverse. You can learn by sitting next to people who speak other cultures, other backgrounds, and other languages.”

He added that this is especially important because the UK is “extremely bad” at teaching modern languages ​​and benefits from allowing European linguists to study and then stay in the UK to teach.

“I am also worried that this will affect the socio-economic collapse of the students, because only the richest European students can study here,” he added. “Brexit and the new crown virus have led to the establishment of unprecedented borders.”


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