Sharp drop in EU applications to 'early deadline' university courses

But Ucas sees slight rise in UK applications to Oxbridge, medicine, dentistry and veterinary courses, which all have early deadlines

Charlotte Santry

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Applications from European Union students to university courses with early deadlines have dropped by 9 per cent, ending a trend of annual increases.

The Ucas figures are for UK courses with an October deadline, including all those taken at Oxbridge as well as medicine, dentistry, and veterinary degrees taken at other universities.

Applications from the EU have fallen by 9 per cent (620 applications) since last October to 6,240, almost reversing last year’s 8 per cent increase.

The numbers had been steadily increasing each year since 2013, the first year for which figures are available in today’s Ucas report.

Following the Brexit referendum result, European Students’ Union president Fernando M Galán Palomares warned that he expected student mobility between the UK and the rest of Europe to decrease dramatically due to higher tuition fees, “hostile visa regulations” and decreased access to healthcare and work opportunities.

Today, Ucas chief executive Mary Curnock Cook said: “We will be watching the numbers of EU applications in the run-up to the January deadline, especially now that the government has confirmed arrangements for continuing access to student loans for 2017 courses.”

'Increase in young UK applicants'

Ucas said it was unable to comment on the reasons for the decline, including whether it could be linked to June's referendum result and Britain's decision to leave the EU.

Overall, there were 57,190 applicants to early deadline courses – a 1 per cent increase from last year. The number of applicants from the UK rose by 3 per cent, to 39,440.

There was a large increase from 18-year-olds in England – up by 8 per cent - and Wales – up by 7 per cent, with nearly 2,000 more people submitting applications.

First-time applications were up by 2 per cent to 51,800.

Ms Curnock Crook said: “This is an encouraging increase in applicants to the October deadline courses, particularly given the 2 per cent decrease in the 18-year-old population."

There were 19,210 applicants to medicine courses in total, 4 per cent fewer than last year, continuing a series of annual declines that began in 2014.

However, 18-year-old English applicants to medicine increased by 5 per cent, equivalent to an extra 310 people.

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Charlotte Santry

Charlotte Santry

Charlotte Santry is deputy news editor at Tes

Find me on Twitter @CharlotteSantry

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