Scotland: increase in non-EU students offsets drop in EU students

There is a mixed picture for international intake in Scotland this year but more domestic students are entering higher education than ever before

Scottish universities have accepted a record number of non-EU students, latest figures from Ucas show.

A total of 2,330 international students from outside the EU will take up a place this autumn, 190 more than last year.

But as Brexit approaches, the number of EU students accepted to study at Scotland’s 19 universities has dropped 5% to 3,150, 160 fewer than last year.


Read more: UK universities and Brexit – are we ready to leave?

Universities UK’s Vivienne Stern says there is a huge amount only government can do – and have yet to do – to prepare the sector for Brexit. 


A spokesperson for Universities Scotland said the increase was due to the “increasingly sophisticated recruitment and marketing”.

Some Scottish universities, like the University of St Andrews, already welcome nearly a third of their student intake from overseas.

It is expected that just over 23% of all 18-year-olds in Scotland will enter higher education this autumn, tying the record set on results day last year.

It’s really encouraging to see Scottish universities welcome students from around the world – Clare Marchant, Ucas

Clare Marchant, Ucas’ chief executive, said: “Almost 95% of students will have secured their first choice, and it’s really encouraging to see Scottish universities welcome students from around the world.”

Ucas expects more students to be accepted through clearing in the coming weeks, and the body estimates that over 1,700 courses in Scotland still have spaces. Last year, 1,745 people in Scotland were accepted through clearing, with 485 of those applications submitted directly into clearing.

Marchant said: “Clearing gives students choices, putting them in the driving seat. Universities want to hear from keen, qualified students without a place, and those who’ve only recently started thinking about a course this September.”


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