Brexit not (yet) deterring European students from the UK

Data from about student interest in the UK show demand remains healthy despite Brexit concerns

January 11 2017
Student with British laptop

New data from a student accommodation marketplace show that even more European students are interested in coming to the UK this year, despite concerns that the prospect of Brexit would put them off.

Enquiries from European students into UK accommodation on tripled during September to December 2016 compared with the same period the previous year.

This increased demand is in line with similar increases in enquiries about elsewhere in the world, providing some evidence that the result of the European Union referendum in June 2016 is not discouraging EU students from looking into the UK as a study destination.

London is the most popular destination for European students, followed by Glasgow, Edinburgh and Nottingham.

Luke Nolan, founder and chief executive officer of, said: “Although it’s clearly early in the season to make conclusive statements about European enrolments, this could be encouraging news for European student flow to the UK this year.

“While London’s universities continue to be the most popular choice for both European and Asian students, we are delighted to observe increasing interest in the best of Britain’s university towns.”

Most popular UK destinations for EU students

Top cities in Sept-Dec 2016

Top cities in Sept-Dec 2015

1.     London

1.     London

2.     Glasgow

2.     Edinburgh

3.     Edinburgh

3.     Manchester

4.     Nottingham

4.     Birmingham

5.     Birmingham

5.     Glasgow

6.     Manchester

6.     Liverpool

7.     Liverpool

7.     Bristol

8.     Bristol 

8.     Oxford

9.     Cambridge     

9.     Cambridge

10.  Sheffield

10.  Nottingham

In 2014-15, 28 per cent of international students in the UK were European – about 124,500 students.

The data show that students from more than 30 different European countries registered interest in the UK for their studies. France, Italy, Spain and Germany had the highest numbers of students exploring study options in the UK.

Nottingham has risen from 10th to fourth place in the list of most popular UK study destinations this year. Jeremy Burgess, associate director of the international office at the University of Nottingham, attributes this to a concerted effort to celebrate and promote the city’s global connections.

Mr Burgess said: “The University of Nottingham and, indeed, the city itself are truly international and cosmopolitan, and the part played by our European students in enriching both the academic and the wider community cannot be underestimated. 

“Our strong links with institutions and organisations throughout Europe together with our long-standing reputation as an academic powerhouse has helped us to maintain high levels of interest across the European region. We cannot presume that this pattern will continue but in the short term this is a positive piece of news.”

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