A 30-year-old student exchange programme that faces the axe after Brexit disproportionately benefits students from Scottish universities, according to new figures.

More students north of the Border choose to study and train in the EU through the Erasmus scheme than in nine other areas of the UK.

The Erasmus programme, which was set up in 1987, allows students to study or acquire skills in another EU country.

The Prime Minister’s Chequers agreement promised to “explore participation” in the scheme, but it was not mentioned in the political declaration on the future relationship with the EU that May negotiated.

Around 15,000 students from the UK take part every year, of which 9,500 study abroad, and Brexit has placed a question mark over whether the scheme will continue.

It was revealed last week that students currently on the programme are in the dark over funding and accommodation, and some individuals fear they could be left without health insurance.

Figures released by the People’s Vote campaign, which backs another referendum, break down the the number of UK Erasmus students by 10 areas. The statistics, which are based on yearly averages covering 2014 to 2017, show that 2,393 students from Scottish universities participated in the scheme during this period.

In second place was London, with 1,922, followed by the South West on 1,738 and 1,477 for the South East.

Universities such as Edinburgh, Exeter, Leeds, Durham, Nottingham, and Bristol would be among the biggest losers.

Popular destinations include France, Spain, Germany, and Italy.

David Rodger, 26, who is originally from Stonehaven, studied French and German at St Andrews University, and spent a year in Leipzig.

Back at St Andrews, he met his girlfriend Andrea, a Spanish student on an Erasmus year at the Fife university.

“I’ve always loved languages and there’s no better way to learn one than fully immersing yourself in a new city and culture. Erasmus offers kids from Scotland a brilliant opportunity to live and study at top Universities across the continent,” he said.

Richard Lochhead, the Scottish Government’s Further Education Minister, said: “Brexit poses a direct threat to our membership of Erasmus, particularly in the event of a no deal.”