International Students Boost UK Economy With £42 Billion: New Research Unveils Remarkable Impact

United Kingdom Europe International Studies Higher Education News Statistics by Erudera News May 17, 2023

influx of people in the United Kingdom

International students have made a remarkable economic contribution to the United Kingdom through their spending in the country, improving the economy with around £42 billion in 2021/22, new research has found.

The research by London Economics, a leading consulting firm, reveals that economic benefits derived from international students studying at UK universities have increased by approximately 34 percent in three years, from £31.3 billion in the 2018/19 academic year to £41.9 billion in 2021/22, reports.

According to the analysis “The benefits and costs of international higher education students to the UK,” the net economic impact per student was assessed to be £125,000 per EU-domiciled student and £96,000 per non-EU student.

“In other words, every nine EU students and every 11 non-EU students generate £1 million worth of net economic impact for the UK economy over the duration of their studies,” the report from London Economics points out.

The number of international students in the UK has increased by 40 percent between 2018/19 and 2021/22. Within this timeframe, the net economic impact has increased to £37.4 billion for the 2021/22 cohort from £28.2 billion for the 2018/19 cohort, which according to the report, is a 33 percent rise in real terms.

Another key finding is the economic impact that international students make on the UK parliamentary constituency during their academic experience, with the total contribution amounting to £58 million.

“This is equivalent to £560 per member of the resident population,” London Economics highlight in their report.

The report was published by Universities UK International (UUKi), the Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI), and Kaplan International Pathways in partnership with London Economics.

Following the report’s release, Universities UK International (UUKi), the peak body representing UK universities internationally, said in a press release that the impact of international students on the UK economy has dramatically grown, up 58 percent since 2015/16. This improvement, according to the organization, can be attributed to the increase in number of non-EU students, which is up 68 percent since the 2018/19 academic year.

Director of HEPI, Nick Hillman, said that the accelerated increase in the number of international students reflected the UK’s appeal as a study destination despite the mixed signals from policymakers.

“If there are to be further changes to the rules on international students, then it is vital that they are based on evidence rather than whim, so this report is designed to strengthen the existing evidence base. We hope it will be read by every candidate for every major political party in every constituency in the run up to the next election,” Hillman said.

In the past year, policymakers have considered restrictions on international students to prevent migration, with plans including limiting visas for students’ dependents.

>> UK Government Plans to Limit Dependents of International Master’s Students

Official data show 679,970 international students were studying at UK higher education institutions in the 2021/22 academic year, a 12.3 percent increase from the previous year. More than 80,000 first-year students from abroad enrolled in courses at UK universities in 2021/22.

© Anthony Rosset | Unsplash

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