BC’s international education worth CAN$2.1 billion

November 21, 2013

International students in British Columbia (BC), Canada, contributed CAN$2.1 billion to the local economy in the 2011/12 academic year, according to an economic analysis released this week by the British Columbia Council for International Education (BCCIE).


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The total estimated expenditure by international students across all sectors was an increase of 17 per cent compared with the previous year. Tuition fees represented around CAN$1.2 billion of the total spend, accommodation and meals made up CAN$600 million and the remainder related to books and supplies, transportation and discretionary spending.

The increased expenditure was linked to a rise in the number of international students in the province. The report, An Update on the Economic Impact of International Education in British Columbia produced by economists Roslyn Kunin & Associates, recorded 106,600 international students during the year, compared with 100,700 in 2010/11. The annual growth rate of international students across the last five years was 11.5 per cent, compared with 1.4 per cent average growth in domestic students in the same period.

“The growth in international education is great news for our province,” said Advanced Education Minister Amrik Virk. “International students contribute so much to our province, bringing global perspective and ideas into our classrooms and communities, and supporting local jobs and businesses.”

The language school sector accounted for 47,300 students in 2011/12, followed by public post-secondary institutions with 33,500, the secondary school sector with 13,000 and private post-secondary institutions with 12,800.

In terms of value, China was by far the largest export market for education services with students contributing CAN$637 million to the BC economy, followed by Korea (CAN$223m), Japan (CAN$145m), Saudi Arabia (CAN$121m) and India (CAN$118m).

The report estimates that the provincial GDP generated by international education was CAN$1.48 billion, which was greater than the crop and animal production industry and almost as large as the logging and forestry industry and supported 23,410 jobs directly.

When the value of BC education services was compared to the exports of goods, international education was equivalent to seven per cent of the total goods export. Strikingly, Saudi Arabia spent more than twice as much on education services as it did on goods.

Randall Martin, Executive Director of BCCIE, said, “British Columbia as a province has experienced continued growth in terms of attracting quality international students to participate in our education system in the public and private sectors. These students not only make a valuable contribution to BC’s economy today, but they will play an increasingly critical role in addressing the widening job gap, as a result of BC’s aging demographic and declining birth rates.”

At the time of writing, CAN$1 = US$0.95, source www.xe.com


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