It is now just six months until the UK formally starts its journey of leaving the European Union, and we’re not much wiser with regards to what that’s likely to entail just yet. This is one of the possible explanations for a startling increase in applications from European students looking to study at UK universities in the upcoming academic year.
Recent figures from UCAS show a marked increase in international student applications, which many have seen as hugely encouraging signs that post-Brexit higher education in the UK will still attract some of the brightest minds.
Certainly for landlords with investments in student property and Purpose Built Student Accommodation (PBSA) the news will resonate as the sector continues to enjoy fast growth, seemingly with the demand to continue the trend.
According to UCAS, universities including the University of Warwick and University College London have said that they have seen increased interest from applicants from the UK, EU and other countries, despite more competition for students both at home and abroad.
In quotes carried by the Guardian, Prof Seán Hand, the University of Warwick’s deputy pro-vice-chancellor for Europe, said applications from EU students had risen by 10%.
“Paradoxically, Brexit has focused people’s attention on the strength of British universities,” said Hand.
“European students appreciate that universities such as Warwick, with strong international connections in research and teaching, would be a place for the best kind of education.”
43,500 EU students applied for places as undergraduates, a 3% rise from the same point in 2017 and the second highest number recorded, reversing last year’s sharp fall. The rise represents a huge boost for the sector and will demonstrate the need for landlords to potentially up their plans for expanding their portfolios or entering into the market.
International applications from further afield also broke records, with EU and international applications breaking the 100,000 mark for the first time according to UCAS. As an example of the global appeal of British education, applications from Mexico increased by 52% whilst Chinese applications rose by 20%.
Alistair Jarvis, the chief executive of Universities UK, said: “The increase in international applications shows that the UK remains one of the most attractive destinations in the world for talented, international students.”
There was a small cause for concern regarding the relative drop in domestic applications but this was offset somewhat by the fact that a historically high 37% of 18-year-olds applied to go on to university or college this autumn.
It’s encouraging for the entire higher education sector, as well as for those involved in PBSA, that British Universities can still demand such high esteem internationally, with that translating into high numbers of applications and, despite some proclaiming it to be the result of Brexit, we can remain extremely upbeat about the numbers coming from outside the EU.
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