Students won’t see a profusion of EU universities appearing on the UCAS university application database this year, despite being included for the first time.

The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) recently amended its policies to consider requests from European higher education providers wishing to use its services. They will now be accepted if they “demonstrate that they meet equivalent standards to those in the UK”.

But an UCAS spokesperson told Schools Week that it was “too early” to say how many EU higher education providers would apply to join the service, and that schools preparing current year 12 students for university applications would not see many EU providers on its database.

He confirmed that Amsterdam Fashion Academy was the only EU institution currently using the service, with few further applications expected before the June deadline.

“The higher education environment has changed significantly in the past few years with the intention of giving students more choice,” he said. “With more choice in the market there is a need to ensure that student interests are protected.

“We want students who apply for courses through UCAS to be confident that they are applying for a verified qualification at an institution that meets the relevant quality standards. As a consequence, we have reviewed the criteria for access to UCAS services to ensure that they are fit for purpose in this changing environment.

“Amsterdam Fashion Academy is the first EU university to use the admissions service, although our course search has included a variety of transnational educational opportunities offered by UK higher education providers for some time.

“UCAS considers a number of requests from higher education providers each year and those who are successful go on to use the UCAS course search and admissions service. We do not disclose details of requests under consideration.”


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  1. LSpeight

    I have two sons who both started BSc in Economics this year: one in the UK and one in the Netherlands (at Tilburg) so it has been interesting as a bystander to see what they have both been doing, since they have been comparing notes. As a parent, I can say that the Dutch system has lower entry requirements but a higher drop out/failure rate since the workload in first year is extremely rigorous. This is not such a bad thing. It encourages students to knuckle down and work hard from the outset. Holidays are also shorter with the dutch-based (but English taught) degree, contact time per week is significantly higher and there are four lots of exams during the first year (midterms and finals in each of the two semesters). BUT, when you consider that the tuition fee is around £1500 AND the fantastic multicultural experience that students are exposed to (new friends from the Netherlands, Lithuania, China, Slovakia, Albania, Spain and Greece to name but a few) I can say that he is pleased that he made the decision to study in the Netherlands.