Number of Eastern European Students in UK Universities Plummets

Students Leaving UK

Universities across the United Kingdom are experiencing a decrease in the number of EU students, which is mainly happening due to high UK student visa fees as well as the increase in tuition fees, according to Home Office, UK government’s department, responsible for immigration, security, law, and order. 

A significant decline has been noted in the number of students from eastern European countries, in particular in those from Romania and Poland. According to data by the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS), more than 1,000 Romanian and Polish undergraduate students have joined UK universities during 2021, a drop from 6,000 compared to a year earlier.

Statistics from the same have shown a 70 percent decrease in the number of undergraduate applications from students from several eastern European countries in 2021, reports.

Other countries in Europe issued the following number of visas:

  • Czech Republic – 177 visas
  • Hungary – 214 visas
  • Bulgaria – 185 visas

On the other hand, UK universities continue to enroll many EU students, most of whom come from Germany, France, and Spain, with some 10,000 visas being approved for students coming from these countries.

Previously, EU students could study, work and live in the UK without any barriers, but after the UK left the European Union, EU students were put in the same category as other international students and must now pay high costs to study in the UK.

They are required to pay visa fees which cost around 348 pounds, and 475 pounds if they want to extend the visa. As per tuition fees, EU students should also pay tuition fees more than domestic students.

When the UK was part of the EU, students from member countries paid the same amount as domestic students, which was 9,250 annually, whereas, in August 2021, tuition fees in some cases reached £40,000 per year.

“Sadly suggests that you really need to be from relatively wealthy western Europe if you want to have a high chance of studying here,” Director of the Higher Education Policy Institute Nick Hillman told Times Higher Education.

Earlier, University of East Anglia’s Vice-Chancellor David Richardson told the BBC that the number of EU students at UK universities has halved, but the number of non-EU students increased. According to Richardson, the number of EU students in the UK dropped by 50 percent last year while the number of students from non-EU countries was almost the same as before the pandemic.

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