Scottish Cities in High Demand Among EU Students

Scottish Cities in High Demand Among EU Students

Sabrina Collier

Updated January 7, 2024 Updated January 07

Following concerns that European students would be less likely to study at UK universities in the wake of last year’s “Brexit” vote, statistics released today suggest the picture may not so bleak – particularly for Scottish institutions.

The latest data from student accommodation platform shows the UK continuing to attract large numbers of European applicants, seven months on from the referendum. Although London remains the most popular UK city for the platform’s European users, Glasgow is now in second place, and Edinburgh third.

With early application figures at the end of last year showing a significant decline in EU applications to the UK, today’s brighter headline from is likely to be viewed with both scepticism and hope. But it won’t be long until the final UCAS figures reveal the extent to which the accommodation hub’s usage reflects actual applications.

Keep calm and move to Glasgow…

According to, enquiries from European students seeking accommodation in the UK almost tripled from 18 September to the end of December 2016, compared to the same period the previous year.

This is roughly in line with the accommodation hub’s growth among students in other parts of the world, suggesting that Brexit may not have had such a dramatic cooling-off effect as previously believed.

Enquiries came from 30 different European countries, with highest demand from students in France (28%), Italy (15%), Spain (15%) and Germany (12%). 

While London unsurprisingly remains the most enquired-about UK destination, Scotland’s largest city, Glasgow, has risen in popularity from fifth to second, while Scottish capital Edinburgh is third.

Top 5 UK cities for European users of

Sept-Dec 2015

Sept-Dec 2016

1. London

1. London

2. Edinburgh

2. Glasgow

3. Manchester

3. Edinburgh

4. Birmingham

4. Nottingham

5. Glasgow

5. Birmingham



Scotland’s popularity among EU students may be partly due the fact that they face no tuition fees at Scottish universities. The Scottish government recently confirmed that EU students starting an undergraduate degree in the 2017/2018 academic year will be charged no tuition fees throughout their course. Scotland’s population also voted in favour of remaining in the EU, another factor that could appeal to European applicants.

What do the stats really mean?

While today’s news provides a welcome change from more depressing figures, the statistics are likely to be approached with caution by many UK universities – who will be looking to see whether their own application numbers match up.

Several months ago, admissions body UCAS reported a 9% drop in EU applications for the 15 October application deadline (for medicine, dentistry, veterinary science courses and all courses at Oxford and Cambridge), ending the previous trend of annual increases.

The government’s pledge on continued funding eligibility had come only four days earlier, on 11 October, leading to criticism that it was too late to provide the necessary reassurance.

Doubters will not have long to wait for the full picture. The main application deadline is just four days from now (15 January), and this usually accounts for 90% of total applications. Watch this space!

Are you an EU student considering studying in the UK? Has Brexit changed your decision? Share your experience in the comments below.

This article was originally published in January 2017 . It was last updated in January 2020

Written by

The former Assistant Editor of, Sabrina wrote and edited articles to guide students from around the world on a wide range of topics. She has a bachelor's degree in English Literature and Creative Writing from Aberystwyth University and grew up in Staffordshire, UK. 

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