Universities in Great Britain received about 50 percent fewer students from the European Union (EU) in 2021 than in the previous year. At some British universities, EU student enrollment rates have dropped by as much as 90 per cent, with dozens of universities recording more than 75 per cent declines, according to the Times Higher Education (THE) report citing current British university admissions figures. Organization UCAS.
The reason for the decline is that the number of applicants from EU countries is also declining: According to statistics, in 2021, 40 percent fewer potential students from the EU applied for a bachelor’s degree in Great Britain than in 2020. About 40 percent had less than 65 percent of applicants from Germany (2,145 applications vs. 3,285 in 2020) and even more applications than the EU average, UCAS figures show. “THE” indicates that the decline in Eastern European countries is more pronounced: in 2021, only 28 percent of the previous year’s applications came from Poland (1,365 instead of 4,895) and only 26 percent from Slovakia (270 instead of 1,035).
The background and consequences of the fall
Because of Brexit, students in the UK will have to pay significantly higher tuition fees from the EU and will no longer be able to access government-funded loans. Some universities have tried to compensate with scholarships, according to THE, but UCAS data shows that all universities still admit less EU students.
There is a difference in the decline of EU students from university to university. Universities established after 1992 are particularly affected. The decline is even more pronounced as the number of applications for study space has dropped significantly in institutions where EU students have so far come mainly from Eastern European countries.
Some British universities have paid more to reduce the number of applications from the EU by admitting more British applicants. According to “THE”, it’s not worth the same for the university, as diversity on campus is being harmed. In addition, the situation is a funding problem: in contrast to the cost of master’s tuition fees and for international students, bachelor’s tuition fees are limited for British students, so that these study places generate less income. The real value of fees is also falling due to inflation, which has made the acceptance of British undergraduate students less and less successful.