Number of international applicants to UK decreasing

By Marco Gori

The UK government had previously planned to reduce the numbers of applications from international students however numbers have already decreased, a UCAS report has revealed.

In December 2016, the Westminster government to reduce the numbers of internationals students studying at British universities from 300,000 to 170,000. However according to the “ Undergraduate End of Cycle Report 2016”, published by UCAS last month, the number of applications from outside European Union has already dropped by 2.3%, the first decrease since 2011.

The negative trend of international applicants goes against the positive trend of acceptances from the UK (+0.4%) and from EU (+7.0%).

The majority of students applied by March 2016, well before the Brexit referendum which took place in June. Brexit – a process, some claim could last several years – could lead to increased tuition fees for EU students, and uncertainties on their right to live in the country after their graduation which has contributed to a reduction in the number of prospective students from EU countries, whom may find other countries within the Union more appealing with courses increasingly taught in English with cheaper fees or none at all becoming more prevalent throughout the continent.

The future of EU students once the UK leaves the European Union is unknown, but if the UK were to lose its foreign students, not only it stop attracting much needed human capital from all over the world, it would also cause a serious blow to the country’s education system and economy.

According to the UK Council for International Students Affairs, international students pay an average of £10,500 for an undergraduate course, to more than £25,000 for a postgraduate.

On top of which there are living costs and other expenditures, which according a 2014 report by Universities UK account for £5.6 billion. The report concludes that, “international revenues…[represent] over 20% of all university income”.