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Eastern blocked?

According to figures released by UCAS, The Times Higher Education World University Rankings reports that there are significantly fewer Eastern European undergraduate applicants for places at UK universities in 2021 than in recent previous years. This fall in applicants is not seen across Europe, as study visas from countries such as France, Germany and Spain are relatively robust.

It’s not clear yet whether the drop in numbers is due to Brexit and the now-necessary study visas, along with higher fees and the end of government-backed student loans, or the Covid-19 pandemic. It may even be a combination of all of these. However, it does seem clear that fewer students are applying from Eastern and Central European countries – including Poland, Romania and Bulgaria – with lower GDPs than Western European countries.

Speaking to THE on the drop in students from these regions, Nick Hillman, the director of the Higher Education Policy Institute, said, “It makes our campuses less diverse, reflects weakening ties with countries with which the UK has historic links and, sadly, suggests that you really need to be from relatively wealthy Western Europe if you want to have a high chance of studying here.” Adding, “Young Eastern Europeans’ English language skills are often second to none, too.”

It does seem a shame to lose so many potential students, both for institutions and for the students themselves.

Image courtesy of Pixabay
Liz Granirer
Liz Granirer
Liz has been a journalist for many years. She is currently editor of EL Gazette and has previously edited the magazines Young Performer, StepForward and Accounting Technician; been deputy editor on Right Start magazine; chief sub editor on Country Homes & Interiors; and sub editor on easyJet Traveller, Lonely Planet and Family Traveller magazines, along with a number of others.
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