A recent report in Spanish newspaper, El Pais, highlighted the increasing numbers of Spanish students are interested in studying in British universities despite Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union, in a process commonly known as “Brexit.” Britain’s Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) has seen a 30% rise in student applications from Spain since 2016, when Britain voted to leave the EU.
There are currently 13,000 Spaniards studying at universities in the United Kingdom, which has six of the world’s top 50 universities, according to the Academic Ranking of World Universities, also known as the Shanghai Ranking.
In addition, there were 2,480 Spanish children attending fee-paying schools in the UK in 2019.
“We have lost the fear of crossing borders, students are increasingly investigating all their options, and our level of English has also improved greatly,” says Carolina Jiménez, the head of Education and Society at the British Council in Madrid.
This academic year, Spanish and British students are paying £9,500 (€11,000) in annual tuition fees at universities – except in Scotland where locals and EU citizens (with the exception of students from England, Northern Ireland and Wales) are subsidized and pay £1,000 (€1,200). Spaniards who are already studying in the UK will continue to enjoy the same conditions post-Brexit, while new students will find out in the upcoming months what their new university fee will be.
Spaniard Álvaro Fernández is studying biomedical engineering at the Imperial College London, and is not planning on returning to Spain. According to Fernández, at the British university “there is more contact with the professors, more individual work and group projects, and greater option for specialization.” “The standard of teaching and the university is much higher because their government invests a lot,” he adds.
According to Jiménez, from the British Council, “the students who come next year will have to ask for a visa. But given that this is processed by the university, it won’t be complicated. As students, they will continue to be able to access the public health care system.”