New figures reveal a sharp drop in the number of E.U. students applying to Britain’s top universities, in the aftermath of the Brexit vote in June this year.

Forbes reports that the decrease brings to s halt, years of successive increases in EU applicants to the UK’s leading institutions.

Commentators say the likely cause of this is the uncertainty over student funding and status once the UK leaves the EU. Key government figures are also deeply divided on this issue.

UCAS, the university admissions body reports there has been a 9 percent fall in early applications from the rest of the EU, for courses starting in 2017, an almost complete reversal of 8% rise seen last year.

The latest figures include data for medical courses, such as medicine, dentistry and veterinary sciences, as well as all subjects at Oxford and Cambridge, the top 2 universities in the UK. Early applications are make up only one in 10 applications of all applicants to the UK, but the data can be used as an early indicator of the effect of Brexit on EU student interest post-Brexit.

Mary Curnock-Cook, chief executive at UCAS said:

 “We will be watching the numbers of E.U. applications in the run-up to the January deadline, especially now that the government has confirmed arrangements for continuing access to student loans for 2017 courses.”

Clarity surrounding the status of EU students in a post-Brexit Britain, including whether they will be elgible for student loans, is hindered by a split between top government ministers over the position of all non-UK students. Theresa May’s continued rhetoric on the reduction of immigration, saw the suggestion of students being excluded from net migration targets rebuffed by the UK’s chancellor, Philip Hammond.

UK universities are preparing to face the loss of EU funding, brought on by Brexit, with two of this year’s British-born Nobel laureates cautioning that Brexit will hamper scientific research in Britain.