Foreign students contribute
10 times as much to the UK
economy as they cost

The Higher Education Policy Institute recently carried out a survey of those who arrived in the UK during 2015-6 and reports that they contribute £20.35 billion to our economy over the duration of their stay.

This is the equivalent of £310 for every UK resident, or put another way, £1 million for every 11 non-EU students.

The money benefits not just large cities like London or Sheffield, it concludes. It also states that even more income is generated when family and friends of the students come to visit them.

Despite this, the UK has moved into third place as a destination for international students.

It is now behind the United States and Australia, which has been rapidly expanding its student population in recent months.

Australia markets itself as a desirable place to study as it is an English-speaking country, with high-performing educational institutions, an attractive climate and a vibrant culture.

Canada is also emerging as a preferred location.

Nick Hillman, the director of the Higher Education Policy Institute, said:

‘Trying to persuade the Home Office that international students nearly always benefit the UK can feel like banging one’s head against a brick wall.’

International students can pay as much as £35,000 for an undergraduate degree, subsidising in some part the domestic fees, which are capped at £9,250.

Most Europeans go to Scotland, whereas those from outside the EU stay in England. Wales has seen the largest decrease – a 25 per cent drop since 2013.

Of the 400,00-plus non-UK students who come to study here, the countries that exports the most are:

  • China: sends 92,000
  • India: sends 18,000 (for comparison, 10 times that figure go to the US to study)

The most popular courses are in business and administrative studies; engineering and technology.

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