According to UCAS, there is a 13 per cent rise in the number of European students recruited to leading universities, with half of Russell Group members still advertising clearing places. These figures have revealed that recruitment from mainland Europe has increased much quicker among universities with the highest entry requirements, than admissions from the UK.
According to figures disclosed by the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS), there is a 13 per cent rise in the number of European students recruited to leading universities, with half of Russell Group members still advertising clearing places. These figures have revealed that recruitment from mainland Europe has increased much quicker among universities with the highest entry requirements, than admissions from the UK. It appears that leading universities are increasingly turning to countries such as Germany, France, Ireland, Poland, Cyprus and Spain to find talented students.
these figures follow the publication of previous UCAS statistics showing that in recent years, much of the surge in applications has come from students with lower A-level grades, alongside those applying with BTECs and other vocational qualifications.
This summer, following a drop in the number of teenagers gaining A and B grades at A-level, competition for the brightest British students has also been intensified. The director of the Centre for Education and Employment Research at Buckingham University, Prof Alan Smithers, said: “There is a genuine market operating among European students and they’re aiming for the high tariff universities." “Leading universities regard themselves as international institutions. Their chief criteria is the question of achievement and increasingly they are going to look beyond this country when it comes to recruitment.”
A record 468,910 students had secured places at UK universities by Tuesday morning. This is an increase of four per cent on last year.
Higher tariff universities - those with the most demanding entry requirements - have seen their admissions rise in line with the national picture, with numbers up by four per cent to 134,000. However, it has emerged that leading universities have bolstered their admissions this year by using EU students. They admitted some 9,840 students from outside the UK. This is up by 13 per cent compared with 12 months earlier. Whereas the number of British students admitted to top universities is up by just two per cent, to 74,450.
Medium ranking universities saw a three per cent increase in EU students. For bottom ranking institutions, the numbers were up eight per cent - but from a lower base.
Interestingly this rise comes in the wake of concerns over an increase in the number of EU students returning to Europe after they graduate without paying off their student loans.
In 2014, universities were given more powers to recruit students. "This includes admitting unlimited numbers of students with good A-levels – at least an A and two Bs – and an extra 30,000 sixth-formers with lower grades."
Under European law, students from EU member states must be treated by UK universities the same way as their British counterparts. This includes providing EU students the same access to government-backed student loans.
"Separate figures show that 10 out of 24 Russell Group universities were still advertising places through clearing on Tuesday afternoon. Those with high numbers of courses for British and European students included Cardiff (210), Leeds (299), Liverpool (375), Newcastle (143), Sheffield (178), Southampton (292) and York (43)."
"UCAS estimates that the total number of students undergraduates recruited by the time term starts in the autumn will exceed 500,000 for the first time."