UK students would be disappointed if there were fewer EU and international students

Less than 10 per cent of first-year UK university students and applicants believe there would be positive benefits to a reduction in EU and international students, survey finds

September 11 2017
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Almost half of UK students and university applicants would be disappointed if there was a reduction in EU and international students, new research has found. 

The University Partnerships Programme’s sixth annual survey of 1,117 first-year students and university applicants (555 first-year, full time, undergraduate students and 562 university applicants) found that 45 per cent of the respondents would be disappointed if there was a reduction in EU and international students at their university.

Some 9 per cent said they would be “offended” by the prospect, while meeting a variety of people at university was important to two in five first-year students/applicants (43 per cent). 

Less than 10 per cent of first-year students/applicants felt that there would be positive benefits to a reduction in EU and international first-year students. Some 4 per cent felt that they would benefit from fewer international students and a further 3 per cent reported that they would be pleased.


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Additionally, the research looked at how first-year students have adjusted to university life. The data show that first-year students, particularly young women, are struggling to adjust to some aspects of university life. Some 87 per cent of first-year students said that they found it difficult to cope with the social or academic aspects of university life. 

The data found that 91 per cent of young women found it tougher to manage one or more of the issues asked about – the stress of studying, feeling isolated, balancing work with study, financial difficulties, the pace of student life, living independently, alcohol, drugs or bullying – compared with 82 per cent of young men.

About three in five (59 per cent) first-year students say that they find the stress of studying difficult to cope with – increasing to 67 per cent of females compared to 48 per cent of males. Meanwhile, 44 per cent of first-year students report feeling lonely or isolated, rising to 51 per cent of females compared with 35 per cent of males. 

“Student mental health is an extremely important issue and UPP recognises the unique difficulties that can arise for students during the transition to university,” said Jon Wakeford, director of strategy and communications at UPP and a member of the Higher Education Commission.

“Mental health support initiatives are an active method for addressing this transition but need to be more widely used, recognising the social weight of expectation that students so often find themselves dealing with,” he added. 

Read more: Students identify the biggest barriers to mental health services in the UK

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