Here in the UK, freshers’ weeks are over and temperatures are falling. For Year 13 students thinking about making their university applications, it’s not hard to see the appeal of studying overseas in a sunnier climate. According to a Unifrog survey, in 2019 nearly a third of sixth formers actively considered studying abroad.
The relaxation of regulations controlling student numbers has been a double-edged sword. Some universities are failing to fill courses, while others—particularly prestigious Russell Group institutions—have increased student numbers and revenues but are suffering growing pains. Since 2012, Bristol University and Exeter University, for example, have grown more than 60%. This rapid expansion can bring its own challenges.
There’s no doubt that the fallout from the TEF review, the Augar report, and the uncertainties of Brexit will continue to dominate the minds of higher education leaders for some time.
“So far there is no long-term decision or reciprocal deal on how UK students in the EU, or EU students in the UK, will be treated post-Brexit.” With the future of the United Kingdom’s position in the European Union still unclear, institutions and professional bodies are speculating on the impact leaving the EU may have on widening participation efforts, particularly in terms of economic slowdown.
Findings from the Higher Education Statistics Agency released in February 2019 show that the percentage of full-time first degree students coming from state schools in the UK dropped in the 2017–2018 academic year. The decrease from 90% to 89.8% sees the first dip in this number for eight years.