A new analysis has revealed that international students in the UK make a whopping contribution of £28.8 billion to the country’s coffers every year. The amount makes every citizen £390 better off on average. The report “The costs and benefits of international higher education students to the UK economy” states that international students bring an economic benefit of £25.9 billion across the UK and spend £2.9bn on the use of public services.  

The estimated net economic impact figures in 2018/19 were £71,000 by a typical EU-domiciled student and £102,000 by a non-EU domiciled student. The report says that higher education is among the highest export earners for the country. Further, its benefits extend to every part of the UK. The paper also breaks down the contribution of international students in the 650 parliamentary constituencies. The greatest financial contributions come from Sheffield, London, Nottingham, Cardiff, Glasgow, and Newcastle.

Detailing these contributions for the 2018/19 intake, international students in Sheffield Central brought £290 million, which is the highest. Other leading ones 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), and Glasgow Central (£171 million).

Constituencies like Orkney and Shetland and Nah-Eileanan An Iar in Scotland have fewer international students, but they still gained revenues. Beyond driving financial benefits, international students bring diversity to the campuses and make them exciting places to be in. Considering these benefits, the UK government targets to bring more than 600,000 international students to the country every year by 2030.

The recent policy changes and the Graduate visa route have created a more favourable environment for international students in many respects. But the country still needs to do more to extend a warm welcome and ensure that its educational offer remains competitive. However, the current slowdown in the influx of EU students indicates that the government needs to ramp up its initiatives.

The post-Brexit changes in the tuition fee structures for EU students have led to a 56% decline in the number of students in early August 2021 compared to the same time last year. A UK report released earlier states that the UK government needs to promote the country as an international education destination. For this, it must ensure the success of the new Graduate route, reduce the financial hindrances for international students, and support the improvement of English language abilities.

The UK economy faces immense challenges after Brexit and the pandemic. However, international students can serve as a massive growth opportunity to drive recovery for the economy. The UK government needs to make every effort to develop this crucial export market.

The recent UCAS undergraduate data indicates that a record 46,610 non-EU students are set to begin an undergraduate degree in the country. The number is 5% more than in 2020, which is an encouraging figure. UCAS will soon launch a platform for helping international students make an informed decision about choosing the UK as their study abroad destination. The focus is to set apart the country as an accessible international education destination and assist colleges and universities to diversify and grow the range of applications they get from new and emerging international markets.

If you are considering studying abroad why don’t you discuss your prospects and opportunities with experts at Lurnable’s dedicated study abroad counselling division LurnPathways?

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