The number of EU students applying to Scottish universities has almost halved, according to official statistics.
Figures published by UCAS indicate that there was a fall from 18,210 applicants from EU countries in 2020 to 10,750 in 2021 at the June 30 application deadline, a drop of 41%.
Applications to English universities from EU students fell from 43,160 last year to 25,290 in the most recent figures.
However, applications from international students to Scottish universities saw a rise from 26,080 to 32,150 between 2020 and 2021.
Higher and further education minister Jamie Hepburn said that the drop in applicants from EU countries was an “inevitable consequence” of the UK leaving the EU.
The figures also showed an increase in the number of people from some of the most deprived areas of Scotland applying to universities across the UK.
It was recorded against the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation – a relative measure of deprivation across 6976 small areas.
Applicants to UK universities from quantile one in Scotland – zones ranked as the most deprived – rose from 7830 in 2020 to 8680 in 2021, an increase of 11%.
The number of applications from all parts of Scotland was up across the board, whilst there was a higher number of women to apply than men.
Scottish universities also saw a record number of prospective students applying to study for the next academic year.
An increase of 10% was recorded, with the number of applicants rising from 128,110 to 140,440.
Hepburn said that the Scottish Government would continue to work with international partners, as he highlighted the attractiveness of Scotland as a destination to live and study.
“These statistics show a steep rise in prospective students looking to study at Scottish Higher Education Institutions (HEIs), with applicants from Scotland’s most deprived areas increasing by 11% to a record high,” he said.
“We have seen a big percentage increase in applicants from international students outside the EU and that again demonstrates the attractiveness of Scotland as a place to come to live and study.
“There was however a sharp drop in EU students applying to come to Scotland, which was always going to be an inevitable consequence of leaving the EU.
“We will continue to work with our international partners to strengthen our education and research relationships through scholarships and by promoting Scottish learning and research globally, recognising the ongoing importance of our close relationships with our European neighbours.”