Fewer EU nationals apply to study in Britain after Brexit vote

October 27, 2016 4:48 AM EDT

Graduates queue to have their photograph taken after a graduation ceremony at Oxford University, Oxford, southern England in this May 28, 2011. REUTERS/Paul Hackett/File Photo

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EDINBURGH (Reuters) - The number of early applicants to British universities from other European Union countries has dropped by 9 percent year-on-year following Britain's vote to leave the EU, official data showed.

The figures may be an early sign that the vote has deterred EU nationals from coming to study in Britain, where universities have warned that Brexit could endanger funding and access to research projects, making it harder to attract quality staff.

A first batch of data on courses starting in September 2017 showed that the number of applicants from other EU countries had dropped by 620 compared with figures for September 2016 entry, to 6,240.

The data, from the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS), covered courses requiring early applications, which are medicine, dentistry and veterinary medicine at any British university, and any course at Oxford or Cambridge.

UCAS will publish full data on all applications for 2017 university entry in February.

In September, Oxford came top of the widely respected Times Higher Education global university league table for the first time, but its vice-chancellor warned that Brexit could damage its long-term prospects.

(Reporting by Elisabeth O'Leary, editing by Estelle Shirbon)

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