UK students will for the first time be able to apply for European universities through the UK’s centralised application channel, UCAS.
There are currently 30,000 British students studying in European universities. Yesterday’s announcement is expected to see this number steadily rise over the coming years, not least because of a disparity in tuition fee charges.
UK tuition fees are up to £9,000 a year. Dutch universities such as Maastricht and Groningen – already popular with UK students – charge £1,500 a year.
Previously British students wishing to attend universities in the rest of the EU had to apply to them individually and directly. Now they will be able to apply alongside applications to UK based universities.
The Amsterdam Fashion Academy is the first EU university to use the UCAS admissions service.
Universities wishing to use the UCAS service must pay £25,000 and prove their courses meet equivalent UK standards.
A UCAS statement said: “The higher education environment has changed significantly in the last few years with the intention of giving students more choice. With more choice in the market, there is a need to ensure that student interests are protected.
“We want students who apply for courses through UCAS to be confident that they are applying for a verified qualification at an institution which meets the relevant quality standards. As a consequence, we have reviewed the criteria for access to UCAS services to ensure that they are fit for purpose in this changing environment.”
“We will therefore consider requests from European higher education providers to use UCAS services if they can demonstrate that they meet equivalent standards to those in the UK.
“The inclusion of a wider range of higher education providers in the UCAS system offers students more choice about where and what to study.”
British students have historically been hesitant to participate in the EU’s Erasmus exchange programme. In 2012-13, the UK saw a 7% rise in students using Erasmus, with 14,607 students studying abroad, the highest number in 25 years. The total number of Erasmus students was 268,143.