11 March 2017

International students pay £25bn into UK economy

International students who come to study in the UK are bringing in a whopping £25 billion for the economy, a new report has revealed.
internationalstudent1According to new figures published by Universities UK, international students are providing a massive boost to regional jobs and local businesses on top of paying an estimated £4.8bn in tuition fees a year.

As well as paying eye-wateringly high fees (non-EU students pay a minimum of £10,000 per year, but can pay as much as £35,000 per year for courses such as medicine), they spend a lot of cash off-campus, too. Their spending on goods, services, and activities outside of uni alone brought in £5.4bn in 2014.

The UK is currently the second most popular destination for international students (after the US) – EU and non-EU students made up 19% of all students registered at UK unis in 2014.

Despite these figures, the government recently announced plans to begin restricting the number of international students a uni can recruit each year depending on how they perform in the Teaching Excellence Framework – but it looks like this might not go ahead.

The figures: In a nutshell

WalnutsHere’s a summary of just some of the ways international students contributed to the economy in 2014:

  • An estimated £4.8bn was spent on tuition fees – accounting for more than 14% of total university income
  • £1.2bn of international student cash went into the transport industry and £750m to the retail sector
  • Friends and family who come to visit spent an estimated £520m which benefitted (among others) the transport, hospitality, cultural, and sports attraction sectors, generating an estimated knock-on impact of £1bn
  • The economic and employment benefits gained by international students’ off-campus spending generated £1bn in tax revenues. To put this into perspective – this is the equivalent to the salaries of 31,700 nurses, or 25,000 police officers!

What about Brexit?

brexitBack in October, UCAS reported a 9% drop in applications from EU students since the UK voted to leave the EU.

Whilst these students would be paying home fees rather than international fees (for now, at least!), UUK’s figures suggest that a fall in international student numbers could have a substantial impact on the economy.

Despite the UK’s decision to leave the EU, our Brexit survey showed 70% of students voted to remain.

Find out everything you need to know about tuition fees in our complete guide.  

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