Scotland’s Int’l Students Bring £4.21 Billion Into Economy, Glasgow & Edinburgh Lead in Contributions

United Kingdom Europe International Studies Higher Education News Statistics by Erudera News May 18, 2023

Scotland’s flag

International students in Scotland have contributed £4.21 billion to the Scottish economy in the 2021/22 academic year, with students in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, and Dundee making the most significant contribution, new research has found.

According to the study released jointly by Universities UK International, the Higher Education Policy Institute, and Kaplan International in partnership with London Economics, more than a third of undergraduate students at Scottish higher education universities are international students, Erudera.com reports.

The report “The costs and benefits of international higher education students to the UK” revealed that 44,085 international first-year students attended higher education institutions in Scotland last academic year, meaning 34 percent of new entrants in 2021/22 were international students. Data show the number has increased from 29,730 in 2018/19.

Besides Scotland, many students also went to Wales and Northern Ireland, 14,905 and 12,615, respectively.

“In relation to the other home nations of the United Kingdom, the contribution of international students in Scotland to the UK economy was estimated to be £4.21bn, compared to a contribution of £1.26bn from international students based in Wales,” the report brings to light.

International Students’ Net Impact in UK in 202122

Data by London Economics

Overall, international students have boosted the UK economy with nearly £42 billion in 2021/22, with EU students contributing £4.3 billion and non-EU students with the remaining £37.6 billion. That is an approximately 34 percent increase compared to £31.3 billion in 2018/19.

The overall number of international students studying in the UK has also increased by 12.3 percent in 2021/22 compared to the previous academic year, totaling 679,970 students. 381,000 international students chose UK’s higher education providers to pursue their first-year studies.

Most of these students were distributed across England, with 98,825 studying in London, 31,360 in Yorkshire and the Humber, and 29,750 in the West Midlands.

Upon the report’s publication, Jamie Arrowsmith, Director of Universities UK International, said that higher education provided in the UK not only improves the economy but also has a positive impact globally, offering opportunities to millions of students and helping to tackle some of the most sensitive global challenges.

“They offer both a cultural and social benefit to our country, and make a significant contribution to our economy. We should be proud that our universities continue to attract students from all over the world,” Arrowsmith added.

Other cities that attracted large numbers of students in 2021/22 include:

  • 27,680 in the North West
  • 24,835 in the East of England
  • 24,235 in the East Midlands
  • 18,715 in the North East
  • 19,700 in the South West

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