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Two sides of the same coin? Brexit and future student demand

  • 8 August 2019
  • By Nick Hillman
  • HEPI number Policy Note 15

Two sides of the same coin? Brexit and student demand (HEPI Policy Note 15) contrasts two sources of information:

  • the best available economic modelling, which forecasts a sharp drop in the number of students from other EU countries after Brexit, due to the ending of their loan entitlement and the imposition of higher (uncapped) fees; and
  • a historical precedent from the 1980s, showing the abolition of subsidies for international students from outside the EEC led – against expectations – to an increase in their numbers.

The report concludes that the best available evidence points in opposite directions, but also notes that future demand from people in other countries to study in the UK will depend in part on government policies as well as the strategies of higher education institutions. The report further notes that any scenario that reduces the number of international students, or limits access to the wealthiest people from other countries, would harm the diversity of universities.

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