Non-UK applications to Scots universities rise

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Media captionOverall applicant numbers across the UK are lower than in January last year

Applications to Scottish universities from international students are up by more than a quarter, official figures have revealed.

Admissions body Ucas said the number of non-EU applicants had risen 24.7%, with applications from the EU going up 6%.

EU applications to universities in England, Wales and Northern Ireland have all dropped.

The total number of university applications from Scotland is down by 1.5% - the smallest drop across the UK.

But applications from people in Scotland to English universities are down by almost 800 - a drop of 16.4%.

An increase in tuition fees is thought to be behind the slump in applications from Scots students to English institutions.

Overall applicant numbers across the UK are 7.4% lower than at the same time in 2011.

Fee changes

Scottish Education Secretary Michael Russell said the figures would be "welcome reading" to Scotland's education sector and a "vindication" of the Scottish government's approach to student fees.

"The full picture around acceptance figures will emerge later this year, but high levels of applications from abroad reflect the excellent reputation Scottish universities enjoy abroad," he said.

"We are also taking action to protect places at Scottish institutions for Scottish students, which forms part of our work on reforming post-16 education in this country."

Changes to fees mean students from the rest of the UK will have to pay more to study in Scotland.

However, people from other areas of the EU do not pay tuition fees.

The UK government decided to lift the cap on fees in England to £9,000 per year.

A spokesman for Universities Scotland said: "What's really interesting from today's figures is that whilst the number of English applicants is down across the board, the proportion applying to university in Scotland has actually held steady and is the same as last year.

"Universities in England have actually seen a far sharper drop in English applicants than Scottish universities.

"We're pleased that students across the UK and overseas continue to recognise the high quality of education on offer in Scotland."

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