Significantly fewer UK students have applied for a place at a university in their own country for next academic year. The number has dropped by nearly 9 percent, according to recent figures of the British admission service UCAS. The main reason for the fall is the high level of tuition fees. One of the European universities that benefits, is Maastricht University, with most of its courses entirely in English and a much lower fee of €1,713.
UM is expecting more than 600 applications from UK students during the current admissions cycle. How many will officially enroll, is hard to predict, says press officer Caroline Roulaux. Last year 579 students registered at Maastricht University. Eventually only 137 new students were officially enrolled in the 2011-2012 academic year.
Since the British House of Commons decided to triple UK university tuition fees to a maximum of £9,000, a growing number of students is looking for alternatives.
Traditionally the United States (followed by Canada) is the biggest competitor for British universities. But since the rise of tuition fees in England, Europe has become very attractive too. In May 2011, the British newspaper The Independent wrote about the Netherlands and Scandinavia as popular destinations for UK students. Smaller numbers were choosing courses in Germany, Italy, France, and Luxembourg.
According to Nuffic, the Dutch organisation for international cooperation in higher education, the Netherlands is in third place when it comes to the number of UK students (after the United States and Canada).