Irish students studying in the UK drop for the 5th year in a row

Aine Conaty

The number of students who chose to study abroad has dropped by 31 per cent compared to in 2012. Credit: Royal Flags

The number of students that are choosing to study abroad in the UK has dropped for the fifth year in a row.

The number of students who chose to study abroad has dropped by 31 per cent compared to in 2012.

This leaves Ireland behind France and Italy in regards of undergraduates that want to study in other European Union countries.

Ireland would usually count for more than a seventh of applications into universities in Britain six years ago but it has since fallen to nine percent.

This drop in Irish applicants is due to a number of reasons, according to the Director of International Office, Paul Smith.

“I think it is probably multi-layered. Job opportunities, uncertainty around Brexit and what it might mean familiarity could be some of the reasons and family commitments.”

Ireland was not the only country that has dropped in numbers of students that want to study in Britain, Cyprus has also seen a fall in interest.

Cyprus would usually account for 2,800 applications into UK universities, but this year it was less than 2,400. However, this only applies to the last year.

“I think the popular discourse and political context around Brexit are also acting as turn-offs for potential Irish students, and Irish families observe with dismay what appears to be going on in UK politics at the moment,” said Lewis Purser, director of academic affairs at the Irish Universities Association.

Scotland offers free fees to Irish students, under the Student Awards Agency Scotland, SAAS, system.

SAAS receives over 150,000 applications annually from undergraduate and postgraduate students as well as applications for Disabled Student Allowance, the NHS Bursary Scheme and the Part-time Fee Grant.

Aine Conaty