The uncertainty of Brexit proving no bar to International Students

According to figures released today, numbers of international students have applied to study in the U.K. this year.

With a small leap in the number of E.U students, a huge rise is seen in applications from China, which now, along with Hong Kong makes up almost a third of all non-E.U. applicants to British Universities.

The rise is prominently noticed despite there is still no agreement on the terms of the U.K.’s departure from the E.U.

Today, British P.M Theresa May is in Brussels for talks with E.U leaders that are widely expected to result in no change to the withdrawal agreement, meaning that there is a little hope of a breakthrough as May was unable to get through the House of Commons.

Universities are embracing themselves for the impact of a no-deal Brexit. This week U.K students were warned that they would no longer be funded to study at European universities under the Erasmus scheme in the event of no deal.

According to university admissions body Ucas, by the month of January, the number of applicants applying to study in the U.K. rose above the deadline, from 43,510 last year to 43,890 this year.

The application numbers show the biggest rise when it comes to the ratio applying outside the E.U. The total increase of non- E.U. applicants went up from 58,450 in 2018 to 63,690 this year, resulting in an increase of 9%.

These records include numbers from China, the largest source of international students in the U.K., of 15,880, an increase of 33% in 2018.

‘In times of uncertainty, it’s good to see more E.U. and foreign students wanting to come and study in the U.K.’ said Clare Marchant, Ucas chief executive.

The continuing prestige of U.K. universities, and the cachet of a U.K. degree, as well as the popularity of English-medium education, is helping overcome doubts over the eventual terms of Brexit.

A U.K. college degree might start to seem less appealing if the lack of a deal leads to travel restrictions on U.K.-domiciled students and prevents U.K. universities accessing E.U. research grants.

To pile this up, May has made restricting immigration, with international students included in immigrant numbers, one of her priorities for a post-Brexit approach to Britain’s borders, which may make the U.K. appear less welcoming.

With the result of the Brexit process still uncertain, it may be that it will only be the fog has lifted on the future relationship between the U.K. and E.U. that the impact on the higher education sector will become clearly visible.

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