International students provide UKú3 billion boost to economy

11 November, 2015

International students in London-based higher education institutions provided a UK£3 billion contribution to the UK capital’s economy and supported more than 37,000 jobs in 2014, according to research released by London & Partners, the official promotional company of the Mayor of London.

Source - The Economic Impact of London's international students, London & Partners

There were 106,795 international students at London’s institutions in 2013/14, according to data released by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (Hesa), a 1.6 per cent increase over the previous year, and two thirds of these were from outside the EU.

China is the largest source country for London institutions, with 13,460 students in 2013/14 – a 49 per cent rise compared with 2009/10 – followed by the USA (6,440), India (4,790), Italy (4,375) and Germany (3,875).

London accounted for 23 per cent of the UK’s total number of international students, although ratios varied substantially by nationality; 43 per cent of all Italian students were in London, and the city hosted 36 per cent of the UK’s American students.

The economic impact of international students in the capital was estimated by London & Partners at UK£2.99 billion, consisting of UK£1.641 billion in subsistence spending, UK£1.218 billion in tuition fees and UK£131 million in spending by visiting friends and relatives.

The report found that spending by international students has increased by 18 per cent compared with four years ago, and has almost doubled since 2005/06.

The authors said the main reasons for the increased economic impact were: the 25 per cent rise in international students since 2005/06; the spike in tuition fees for EU students in line with domestic increases; and inflation, estimated at 34 per cent over the period.

In terms of economic contribution by source country, the top three – China (UK£407.2 million), USA (UK£216.6 million and India (UK£130.3 million) – mirrored the three largest sources by student numbers. However, Asian markets such as Hong Kong and Malaysia made a higher contribution than European nations that provided more students, due to the lower tuition rates for EU nationals.

The USA was the highest per capita contributor at UK£33,600 per student, followed by Hong Kong and Malaysia.

Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said, “There’s a reason why thousands of university students from all over the world are drawn to London each year – we have some of the best universities on the planet, producing everything from ground-breaking scientific research to virtuoso musicians. London’s universities help make the capital such a thought-provoking, stimulating and breath-taking city which provides a learning experience in itself.”

At the time of writing, UK£1 = US$1.51

Matthew Knott
News Editor


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