The number of students from the UK and other European Union (EU) countries starting full-time undergraduate courses in England reached an all-time high in 2016-17. There were an estimated 408,000 entrants, which is a 1.0 per cent (4,000 students) increase on the previous year.
Increases in the young participation rate and numbers of EU entrants have led to strong growth since 2012-13, when the higher tuition fees caused a temporary fall.
However, 2016-17 is likely to be a peak year as the declining population of 18-year olds and the consequences of the EU referendum could put downward pressure on the number of entrants in 2017-18, while there may be a transitional effect as funding for nursing students switches from bursaries to loans. UCAS reported a 5.8 per cent decrease in the number of UK and other EU applicants to English providers by the 15 January deadline.
All-year student numbers of UK and other EU full-time undergraduates were 3.0 per cent (32,800 students) higher in 2016-17 than in 2015-16, at 1,123,000. These students made up 57 per cent of the overall higher education student population in 2015-16.