20% Drop in number of Irish students applying to study in the UK

The number of students applying to study in the UK has dropped by about 20% since the Brexit vote in 2016.

Although students who secure places in UK universities have been reassured that the cost of their tuition will not increase while attending their course, many potential students are worried that the cost to study in England may increase significantly due to the uncertainty of the British economy once they leave the EU.

This has since led to a significant drop in the numbers of Irish students applying to study in the UK compared with last year’s figures.

This makes continental European countries, such as France, Italy and Germany, a more attractive proposition than Britain for Irish students looking to study abroad.

Only 3,900 Irish students applied to UCAS – the UK’s equivalent of the Central Applications Office – in 2017, which was down from 4,750 on 2016.

The UK has lost some of its draw for Irish students due to Brexit and higher costs associated with withdrawal of NHS funding to nursing and paramedical programmes.

The possibility of a significant increase in the cost of Studying in UK third level institutes has also emerged as a key concern among young people in a government consultation report on Brexit.

The report, due to be published by Minister for Children Katherine Zappone, found that young people in Ireland are concerned about the cost of college and their enthusiasm at prospect of attending European universities, other than the UK, has increased due to the potential increase in costs due to Brexit.

The increase in interest in European colleges is due to the fact that many of these universities, which rank in the top 100 global rankings, are charging lower tuition fees and are admitting a higher number of Irish students each year.

However, concerns among Northern Irish students which emerge in the report include restrictions on access to the Erasmus programme and their right to an Irish and EU passport.

The consultation report includes those who work with or for young people, such as the ISPCC, the youth wings of political parties and representatives from the Ombudsman for Children and the Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People.

Paul Dwyer