Steep Decrease in Applications from EU Countries to the UK

Dec 7, 2016 at 12:00am ET By Alyssa Walker

Application deadlines for medical, dental, and veterinary places—and for all places at Oxford and Cambridge—passed on October 15, 2016, and the news doesn’t bode well. Applications fell by 9 percent this year, a sharp decline. 

Despite the fact that the government guaranteed EU student funding for next school year, the 9 percent drop signals a stark warning that the numbers of students from Europe will continue to decline.  The problem?  The proximity of the government’s guarantee and the application deadline. 

According to the BBC, Nicola Dandridge, chief executive of the vice-chancellors’ office at Universities UK explained that the applications window opened on September 6, “but the government guarantee on fees and financial support for EU students for 2017 entry was not provided until October 11, only days before the deadline.”  She suggested that the government extend transitional situations for courses in 2018, so that prospective students from the EU can make informed, timely decisions. 

The decline in medical school applications from the EU is particularly troubling to the British Medical Association, according to the BBC.  Dr. Charlie Bell, co-chair of the BMA’s medical student committee said, “The government should be focusing on creating a health service that can both attract and retain the doctors it needs to deliver the best possible care for patients.”

Global applications to universities in the UK will face new challenges in a post-Brexit world. The UK will have to find a way to assure international students that they are still welcome—and that there’s a place for them in the UK’s higher education landscape.

Read more about studying medicine in the UK

Alyssa Walker is a freelance writer, educator, and nonprofit consultant. She lives in the White Mountains of New Hampshire with her family.

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