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January

International students worth £22.6b to UK

Published: Tuesday 30 January 2018

By Adrian Bishop

International students are worth £22.6 billion to the United Kingdom – the equivalent of £310 for each resident.

Their benefits outweigh their cost 10-fold, according to a new study from The Higher Education Policy Institute and Kaplan International Pathways.

The costs and benefits of international students by parliamentary constituency provides a detailed analysis of the UK’s 231,000 new international students each year.
Among its main findings are:
  • The gross benefits – including tuition fees, other spending and economic knock-on effects – of international students is £22.6 billion. This is, on average, £87,000 for each EU student and £102,000 for each non-EU student
  • The public cost of hosting international students – including education, health and social security – is £2.3 billion. This is £19,000 on average for each EU student and £7,000 for each non-EU student
  • The net impact (benefits minus costs) of hosting international students is £20.3 billion. This net impact is £68,000 on average for each EU student and £95,000 for each non-EU student
  • The net impact of international students is spread throughout the UK
  • Students in London generate £4.64 billion
  • Students in the South East generate £2.44 billion
  • Students in the West Midlands generate £1.95 billion
  • Students in Scotland generate £1.94 billion
  • Students in the North West generate £1.91 billion
  • Students in Yorkshire and the Humber generate £1.59 billion
  • Students in the East of England generate £1.34 billion
  • Students in the East Midlands generate £1.28 billion
  • Students in the South West generate £1.21 billion
  • Students in the North East generate £0.98 billion
  • Students in Wales generate £0.90 billion
  • Students in Northern Ireland generate £0.17 billion.

Source: The Higher Education Policy Institute and Kaplan International Pathways.

Linda Cowan, Managing Director, of Kaplan International Pathways, says, “In recent decades, the UK has been phenomenally successful in recruiting international students, second only to the US. Other countries – notably Australia – have been catching up and the UK is now showing signs of losing ground.”

Professor Graham Galbraith, Vice-Chancellor of Portsmouth University, says, “The main beneficiaries of international students are spread right across the country – from Newcastle, through Liverpool, Leeds, Sheffield, Coventry, and Cardiff to Portsmouth. Encouraging international students to come to the UK should be central to the UK’s industrial strategy and a key part of supporting a global Britain post-Brexit.”

In total, there are 438,000 international students studying for qualifications at higher education institutions across the United Kingdom – equivalent to 19% of all Higher Education students.

Of the 231,065 first-year international students in 2015/16, approximately 47% (108,650) were undertaking taught higher degrees (i.e. Masters degrees), with a further 14,885 students undertaking higher research degrees (6%) and 7,195 (3%) studying for other postgraduate qualifications.

China has the most first-year international students in the UK, with 62,105 n 2015/16 - one in every four. The United States and India were the next most prolific, with 10,545 and 9,095 first year students in 2015/16, respectively. The country providing the greatest number of EU-domiciled first-year students in 2015/16 was Germany, with 7,250 students coming to the United Kingdom, closely followed by France 6,995 and Italy with 6,055 new students.

The analysis concentrates on EU and non-EU first-year students attending UK universities in 2015/16. The figures are presented in 2015/16 prices and are discounted to reflect net present values. 

Source: The Higher Education Policy Institute and Kaplan International Pathways.
 

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