‘The number of international students accepted as undergraduates at UK universities has gone down for the first time in five years, according to the higher education admissions service, Ucas.
Although the figure only relates to undergraduates, who make up a small proportion of international students in UK higher education, the sector is nervous as speculation mounts about government plans to cut the overall numbers of non-EU students as part of its drive to reduce immigration.
According to the Ucas end-of-admissions report for 2016, published on Thursday, the number of students accepted from outside the EU fell by 2.3% to 38,300, which marked the first fall since 2011. The fall in numbers was due to a decrease in both applicants and the acceptance rate.
In contrast the number of EU students accepted to start their studies in September rose by 7%, with big increases from countries including Poland and Bulgaria. Most will have applied before the Brexit vote.’ - The Guardian
‘The number of European Union (EU) students accepted on courses rose to 31,400, the highest on record, according to the latest figures released by Ucas, the universities admissions body.
However, by far the biggest increase in students came from poorer European countries such as Slovakia, which saw a 51 per cent increase from last year, while Poland and Serbia each increased by 27 per cent.
This compares to smaller increases in wealthier, western European countries such as France, Italy, Switzerland and Austria, which all rose by less than five per cent.
Nick Hillman, Director of Higher Education Policy Institute, said: “The surge in EU recruitment may in time come to look like a burst of ‘buy now while stocks last’.
“Those applying before the referendum were in a sweet spot between the removal of student number controls and looming new challenges. For EU students, the future is likely to mean higher fees, no entitlement to student loans and tougher migration rules.”
EU students have access to lower fees and student loans but there are fears they could lose their benefits when Brexit takes place.
Under the current system, EU students are eligible to receive undergraduate tuition fee loans from the British government if they have lived in the European Economic Area for at least three years prior to starting university. Tuition fees for EU undergraduates are currently set at the same rate as home-students.’ - Telegraph