With Brexit and the health crisis, British universities are seeing a drastic drop in the number of European students.
But where did the Europeans go? The English specialized press speaks of a “collapse”. According to a report by Ucas, the admissions service for UK universities published at the end of January, many British universities experienced a precipitous drop in student recruitment from the European Union in 2021. In detail, 31,670 European students applied across the country. the Canal (-40% compared to the 2020 school year) and only half finally signed up (-50%). The share of French students has plummeted, going from the third foreign contingent in 2017 to the eighth last year. According to Stat’Erasmus, in 2016-2017, 4,200 French students went to the UK. In 2019, there were just 3,800.
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According to Times Higher Education, some British universities are seeing a 90% drop in European recruitment. By percentage, the University of Bedfordshire shows the biggest loss with 35 admissions versus 670 in 2020 (-95%). University College London shows the biggest absolute drop with a drop: -51%. Brexit and the Covid-19 pandemic are highlighted.
Registration fees have increased tenfold since Brexit
With the United Kingdom’s departure from the European Union, EU citizens, European Economic Area countries and Switzerland are no longer eligible for the financial conditions granted to British students. This measure has been in effect since the start of the 2021-2022 school year.
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In 33 years of collaboration, the UK has established itself as one of the main host countries for European students under Erasmus. Young French people made it their favorite destination between 2014 and 2019, according to data from the Erasmus+ France agency. However, the trend changed with the threat of Brexit. In the previous world, Erasmus allowed the payment of tuition fees at French universities, that is, 170 euros for a degree and 240 euros for a master’s degree. From now on, you have to pay around 10,000 euros a year.
However, globally, the number of foreign students enrolled in British universities has increased by 1 point. This increase is explained by the record number of 111,000 requests from foreigners from outside the EU (+12% compared to 2020). Chinese students alone are about as many as all European students. Indians and Americans follow, with enrollment jumping 32%.
A 20% drop in French student departures in 2020
Typically, around 90,000 French students fly each year to study abroad for one or two semesters, reports Campus France. But the health crisis has disrupted student mobility.
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Already in 2020, many French exchange students had to return home in the face of the epidemic wave. In 2019-2020, the Ministry of Higher Education noted “an 18% drop in the mobility of students graduating from higher education”, reported Frédérique Vidal to Figaro Étudiant. For 2020-2021, the Minister noted “a 20% drop in student departures abroad”. Between the fear of seeing the exchange canceled at the last moment and the fear of spending it confined without being able to make the most of the experience, the students reviewed their projects.