A record number of European students took up places at UK universities last year, according to a new report from Universities UK.
125,000 EU students came to the UK last year, up 35,000 compared to the figure ten years ago.
Undergraduates from the EU are subsidised by the taxpayer and are eligible for the same low-interest Government loans as those taken out by British counterparts.
They also count towards the strict cap on university places — putting them in direct competition with applicants from England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, however EU students still only make up one in 20 of the total student population in this country.
The Universities UK report showed a much larger rise in international students from outside the EU- who are not included in the government’s cap on places, and can be charged much higher fees than EU or domestic students.
Some higher education commentators feel that this shows universities are increasingly reliant on international students to plug the gap in their income left by a reduction in state funding.
The Universities UK figures show that the total number of students – including postgraduates and undergraduates - has increased by 28 per cent over the last decade to almost 2.5 million.
The number of British students has increased by less than the average - 20.6 per cent - to just over 2m. At the same time, EU students have increased by almost 40 per cent to 125,045.
Students from the EU now account for five per cent of the total, compared with 4.6 per cent a decade earlier.
Posted by Nick Tellwright
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