The Brexit Aftermath: Number of EU students in UK universities declines after Brexit
5 min read

The Brexit Aftermath: Number of EU students in UK universities declines after Brexit

UK News
Oct 12
5 min read

According to the University of East Anglia's Vice-Chancellor David Richardson, the number of EU students at UK universities has halved since Brexit, while the number of non-EU students has increased.

This year, Richardson told BBC News, the number of EU students at the university dropped by 50%, whereas the number of non-EU students remained almost the same as it was before the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak.

Tuition fees as of this august have been announced by universities. In some cases, the tuition fees exceeded £40,000 per academic year. When the UK was a member of the European Union, students from other member countries paid up to £9,250 per year, the same as domestic students

Anglia Ruskin University (ARU) saw a reduction of EU students from 503 to 350 in 2021. The number of students from outside the EU increased from 1,764 to 2,050 in the past two years. The Brexit has resulted in a significant decline of EU students joining in. Despite the drop in EU students over recent years, they have had a significant increase in international students from outside of the EU, told ARU's vice-chancellor, Roderick Watkins, to BBC.

HEPI and Universities UK International recently released a report on "the costs and benefits of international higher education students to the UK economy", which states that international students contribute £28.8 billion to the country's economy each year. Based on the analysis, international students contributed £290m to the UK economy for the 2018-19 academic year at Sheffield Central.

European students in classroom in a UK university

In addition, other constituencies in which international students contributed the most were:

Almost all of the UK regions are represented on the top 20 list, with international students in Manchester Central (North West) contributing £211m (£1,570); Oxford East (South East) contributing £211m (£1,740); Birmingham Ladywood (West Midlands) contributing £183m (£1,450); Cardiff Central (Wales) contributing £181m (£2,050); Bristol West (South West) contributing £175m (£1,400); and Glasgow Central (Scotland) contributing £171m (£1,880),” the report notes.

The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS), a UK-based organization specializing in the application process for British universities, reported a 43 per cent decrease in EU student applications from 49,650 in 2020 to 28,400 in 2021. On the other hand, applications from non-EU students grew 14 per cent in the same period.

According to HESA statistics, 538,615 international students studied in UK higher education in 2019/20, out of which 142,985 were European Union students and 395,630 were non-EU. 

Suvrahadip Ghosh

A creator both by profession and education. On-field as a civil engineer, I used to create structures, and since 2019 I create worlds and content on paper. When I'm not creating, you can catch me fueling my imagination with animes or books. I'm a perpetual learner, always in search of the unknown and to make it a part of me.