Brexit might not hurt EU enrollment in the UK after all, a comprehensive study suggests

A recent report compiled and published by the Higher Education Policy Institute in the UK has suggested that Brexit might actually not cause a huge loss of EU students as predicted, reports

At least for the 2019/20 academic year, the UK government has confirmed that students from EU member states will continue to enjoy home fee status and entitlement to the national student loan schemes. However, the future of EU students who want to study in the UK beyond the end of the upcoming academic year remains massively unclear.

Once the UK and EU finally separate ways students coming from EU will surely be treated as other international students, therefore, they will have to pay higher costs for tuition fees to study in the UK.

Ever since the Brexit referendum which was held on June 2016, universities in the UK have been constantly worried that such EU students’ exclusion from home fee status and denial to access student loans would deeply encourage EU students seeking for other study abroad destinations.

However, HEPI’s paper points out that higher fee costs for EU students might actually have a counter effect because an education more expensive can be perceived as more valuable. In contrast, they do believe reasons why fewer EU students might choose to study abroad in the UK, might particularly have to do with inconvenient immigration policies, complicated student visa application procedures and unclear post-Brexit rules for EU students.

Taken into consideration a potential drop in the value of the national monetary currency, a previous study carried out jointly by HEPI, Kaplan and London Economics estimated that UK universities could see a drop in international enrollment by around 11,000 students with EU students sharing the most of it.

But as EU students would have to pay higher fees, the report further stresses out, universities would accumulate around £185 million enough to fill potential gaps in their own budgets. But at the same time, this would account for a less diverse student community because only the rich would be able to afford such higher cost of studying in the UK.

The arguments laid out on this report build also on an “important historical precedent”. Drawing a parallel with the time when international fees in the UK were first introduced during the 1980s, the report says that in contrast to what many believed at that time the number of international recruitment at the UK universities began to steeply rise.

Experts who worked in getting this study done reiterate that the outcomes of higher fees for EU students depend largely on politics. If there’s an agreement in place to ensure a smoothly Brexit process and if the UK extends its membership in common EU’s study programmes like Erasmus they do believe that the probability is high for UK universities to suffer minor consequences in terms of EU enrollment.

As it stands, EU students represent one of the largest groups of international students enrolled in UK universities. Based on the latest enrollment data, they share around 13% of the entire international student population and so far universities in the UK haven’t experienced any major drop in their numbers.

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