It is hard to see how student recruitment from the EU can be stable until the final exit agreements have been made. Prospective students will need to know, at the very least, about the fee levels and visa requirements which will govern their studies in the UK.
All universities will be hoping for early certainty on these issues so that they can provide the necessary reassurance. We have already seen the Principal of Aberdeen reassure continuing students that they won’t be out-of-pocket if their fee status changes as a result of the Brexit referendum.
HESA’s statistics for 2014-15 show that studying in the UK’s universities were 46,230 postgraduate students and 78,435 undergraduates originating from the European Union (excluding the UK). These students made up 5.5% of the total student population.
The proportions of EU students in the four nations, and the total (EU students, both UG and PG) numbers, were:
It is hardly a surprise that Scotland leads the way within the UK given that EU students are eligible for fee-free undergraduate education as Scottish-domiciled students do. With the threat that offer-holders from the EU might not take up their places for the next academic session, we would expect that the planners will be looking at their institutional exposure and considering whether it’s possible at this late stage in the recruitment cycle to make up a likely deficit with either home or non-EU international students.
Institutional exposure: the numbers and proportions
The following tables are all taken from the HESA statistics, available here. (CC BY 4.0).
The universities with the most EU students in 2014-15 were:
|University College London||2250|
|University of Oxford||1625|
|London School of Economics and Political Science||1540|
|King's College London||1465|
|University of Cambridge||1365|
|University of Edinburgh||1300|
|University of Birmingham||855|
|University of Glasgow||2360|
|University of Edinburgh||2035|
|University of Aberdeen||2010|
|King's College London||1825|
|University College London||1720|
|University of Westminster||1610|
|University of the Arts, London||1595|
|University of Manchester||1430|
|University of Essex||1335|
The universities with the highest proportion of EU students in 2014-15 were:
|Institution||EU postgraduates (%)|
|University of St Andrews||27.1|
|London School of Economics and Political Science||24.9|
|Royal College of Art||24.2|
|Royal College of Music||22.4|
|Royal Academy of Music||22|
|University College Birmingham||20|
|University of Abertay Dundee||20|
|Arts University Bournemouth||20|
|Institution||EU undergraduates (%)|
|Royal Academy of Music||20.8|
|University of Aberdeen||20|
|Royal College of Music||18.8|
|Guildhall School of Music and Drama||16.2|
|Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance||15.1|
|Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh||13.6|
|Conservatoire for Dance and Drama||13.6|
|Glasgow School of Art||13|
|School of Oriental and African Studies||12.8|
From the tables, we can see significant exposure to the EU student market, as expected, for Scottish universities. It’s also evident that specialist art and music providers could find the going tough. Expect in particular the top recipients of EU postgraduates to be looking closely at how diminishing recruitment could affect the bottom line.