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Ahead of Brexit, top British universities enrol fewer EU students

FILE PHOTO – Graduates pose for a photograph outside the Sheldonian Theatre after a graduation ceremony at Oxford University, in Oxford, Britain July 15, 2017. REUTERS/Hannah McKay

LONDON (Reuters) – The number of European Union students enrolling in Britain’s leading universities fell by 3 percent in the 2018/2019 academic year, with the biggest drop hitting postgraduate research courses.

The Russell Group of 24 leading British universities, which includes Oxford, Cambridge, Imperial College London and the London School of Economics, said there was a 5 percent drop in the number of EU postgraduate taught students, and a 9 percent drop in postgraduate research students.

The numbers were released as a broader group of UK universities warned that the sector, contributing around 21 billion pounds to the economy and supporting 944,000 jobs, would take decades to recover if Britain leaves the European Union without a deal in March this year.

In a letter to politicians and the g

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