International student applications in the United Kingdom after Brexit

Amuedo-Dorantes, Catalina and Romiti, Agnese (2024) International student applications in the United Kingdom after Brexit. Journal of Economic Geography. ISSN 1468-2702 (In Press) (https://doi.org/10.1093/jeg/lbae019)

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Abstract

On June 23, 2016, the people of the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union. This paper examines how Brexit impacted international student applications. Using administrative data along with a difference-in-differences approach, we find that Brexit curtailed the growth rate of international student applications by seven percent even before tuition fees had changed, ultimately lowering enrolment as well. The impact is larger for applications to pursue STEM studies, as well as for those from countries with worse employment prospects and weaker economies, hinting on students’ ability to stay long-term in the United Kingdom as an important pull factor.