International Students Contribute £28.8 Billion to UK’s Economy Annually, New Report Finds

International students in the United Kingdom contribute £28.8 billion to the UK economy in a year, a new analysis published by Universities UK International (UUKi) and the Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI) has revealed.

The report named “The costs and benefits of international higher education students to the UK” with research from London Economics comes after the number of international students at UK higher education institutions was impacted by COVID-19 and changes in tuition fees for EU students following Brexit.

Data have shown that the number of EU students admitted to undergraduate degree courses dropped 56 percent in early August 2021 compared to the same timeframe last year, reports.

The report states that the benefits of hosting international students are way more important than the costs of international students, including the use of public services, which according to the analysis, reach £2.9 billion.

“The net economic benefit of £25.9 billion is spread across every part of the UK and the report provides the results for every one of the 650 Westminster constituencies.,” the report pointed out.

During the 2018/19 academic year, international students – residents in Sheffield Central contributed to the UK economy with £290 million. Other report results include:

  • Nottingham South – £261 million
  • Holborn and St Pancras – £243 million
  • Newcastle upon Tyne East – £240 million
  • East Ham – £217 million
  • Cambridge – £214 million
  • Cardiff Central – £181 million
  • Glasgow Central – £171 million

The Director of HEPI, Nick Hillman, said that international students don’t just bring financial benefits to the United Kingdom, but they also make campuses more diverse.

“To make the most of these benefits, we need to provide a warm welcome, ensure our educational offer remains competitive and help international students secure fulfilling careers after study,” Hillman said.

Meanwhile, the Director of Universities UK International, Vivienne Stern, said that the study is a “stark reminder” of international students’ financial importance to UK communities.

“We now need fresh ideas and stronger momentum to achieve the UK Government’s international education strategy target of attracting at least 600,000 international students every year by 2030 and the good this will bring to everyone,” Stern added.

Through its international education strategy, the United Kingdom aims to increase the number of international students in the country to at least 600,000 and the value of education exports to £35 billion annually, by 2030. 

According to data from HESA, there were 538,615 international students pursuing higher education in the UK in 2019/20, with 142,985 students coming from the EU countries and 395,630 non-EU. 

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