The net economic impact of international students has seen a dramatic rise over the past few years – up 58% since 2015/16, (£23.6bn to £37.4bn). One reason for this is the 68% rise in the number of students (now standing at 350,145) from non-EU countries since 2018/19. Data from the report indicate that every 11 non-EU students generate £1m worth of net economic impact for the UK economy – or £96,000 per non-EU domiciled student.
Findings from the study also revealed that international students living in constituencies in Glasgow, Newcastle, Sheffield, Nottingham and London deliver the greatest financial contributions, showcasing the nationwide spread of international students to the country’s economy. On average, international students make a £58 million net economic contribution per constituency, equivalent to approximately £560 per citizen.
In total, 381,000 first year international students enrolled into UK universities in 2021/22, highlighting the global appeal of the country’s higher education institutions and cementing the UK as one of the leading destinations for international students. Demonstrating the spread of international students across England, the report shows that 98,825 students studied in London, 31,360 studied in Yorkshire and the Humber, 29,750 in the West Midlands, 27,680 in the Northwest, 24,835 in the East of England, 24,235 in the East Midlands, 18,715 in the Northeast and 19,700 in the Southwest. In relation to the other UK home nations, there were 44,085 international first-year students studying in Scotland, 14,905 in Wales, and 12,615 in Northern Ireland.
Jamie Arrowsmith, Director of Universities UK International, said: “This report further highlights the positive contribution that international students make to the UK. 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. It is vital that the UK remains an open and welcoming destination for international students, and that their contribution is recognised and valued. Higher education is one of the UK’s most important and successful exports – but it is truly unique, in that alongside generating a significant economic contribution to the UK our universities have a hugely positive global impact, creating opportunity for millions of learners and helping address some of the most pressing global challenges.”