The number of European Union (EU) students signing up for Scottish university courses is continuing to fall following Brexit, it has been warned.

It comes after Boris Johnson's government decided to axe Scottish and UK participation in the EU's Erasmus+ education programme.

University bosses said previously that declining EU recruitment, combined with an insufficient flow of Scottish learners in some subjects, posed a major sustainability threat to provision in areas such as engineering and the creative arts.

The latest warning was issued by Jamie Hepburn, Minister for Higher and Further Education, who said he hoped Scotland could continue to welcome EU citizens to its “world-leading” institutions.

He also highlighted data showing that record numbers of Scots from the most deprived areas are enrolling at Scottish universities.

READ MORE: Lecturers and students pile on pressure over Erasmus

Higher Education Student Statistics, published today, reveal a new overall record number of students joining Scottish institutions - an increase of 8.6 per cent compared to last year. The figures for Scottish domiciled students enrolling at university are also at record levels.

And, while concern persists over recruitment from the EU, there has been a large increase in the number of non-EU domiciled students – up 17% on last year.

Mr Hepburn said: “Every young person should have an equal chance of success no matter their background or circumstance, so it is great to see the number and proportion of Scots from the most deprived areas at university hit a record high.

READ MORE: EU chief closes door on separate Scottish participation in Erasmus

“By 2030, we want 20% of students entering higher education to come from Scotland's most deprived backgrounds and the Commissioner for Fair Access has previously said that Scotland is ‘setting the pace’ in the UK in widening participation.

“Today’s data also shows the number of students enrolling at Scottish universities hit a new record high and we have seen a large increase in international students. This highlights the fact that Scotland, along with our world class higher education institutions, remains an attractive place to study and live for prospective students.

“However, we have seen a continued drop in EU students coming to study in Scotland following Brexit. EU students enrich our campus life and I hope we can still welcome many of them to our world-leading institutions.”