Less Than Half Of EU Students Enrolling In UK Universities Compared To Pre-Brexit Numbers
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Less Than Half Of EU Students Enrolling In UK Universities Compared To Pre-Brexit Numbers

Zoe Kramer January 27, 2023

The number of EU students enrolling to study in the UK decreased by half from 2020 to 2021, according to a report by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA). This shift has been largely attributed to the effects of Brexit, which requires EU students to now pay much higher fees than home students unless they have already achieved settled status. This change could decrease diversity in classrooms as well as impact universities’ finances negatively.

The most significant change is that EU students, once able to apply under a similar status to home students, now have to apply as other international students do. This means that the tuition fees they have to pay are significantly higher. Rather than paying the previous tuition amount of £9000, they now have to pay as much as £38,000. This makes pursuing an education in Britain much less feasible for EU students interested in moving abroad.

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As well as incurring additional fees, EU students also have to complete much more paperwork than they did before. They will have to go through the process of paying £348 for their student visa application, as well as proving both that they have been accepted into a course and that their knowledge of English is sufficient to participate academically. Some students also have to prove that they have sufficient funds to cover their living expenses while they’re in the UK.

These changes have led to much fewer EU students applying than before. In 2020, 66,680 EU students applied whereas in 2021 that number was down to 31,000. This shift impacted undergraduate students in particular with enrollment dropping by 53%. This may be due to the cost of tuition accumulating over three or four years of study, rather than a single year for postgraduate students.

The impacts of this shift will continue to be felt within universities, with the representation of EU students being much less prominent in classroom settings. Universities will also no longer be able to financially rely on these students enrolling in 3-4 year courses, which provide more revenue than the 1 year postgraduate courses. Without an incentive for these students, enrollment number are likely to remain low. If changes are not put into place, many of the benefits of having EU students studying in the UK will be lost.

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Zoe Kramer has been writing for GRV Media’s student-centric website Freshered since October 2022 and is now also contributing to HITC. She graduated from Cardiff University in 2022 with a BA in Journalism, Media and English Literature. During her time in university, she worked for her student newspaper as well as completing an internship with a book publisher. She has also written and continues to write book and theatre reviews. She is excited to now be pursuing a career as a journalist and learning something new every day. In particular, she loves writing about student life, books, the Internet, and travel. Originally from the United States, she is enjoying living abroad in the UK.