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Students ‘make huge contribution to economic prosperity’, report reveals

A new report by specialist policy and economics consultancy London Economics shows the net impact of Bedfordshire’s international student population to be around £190 million.

University of Bedfordshire vice chancellor Bill Rammell said the figures endorsed the argument that international students should not be included in the government’s migration cap policy.

The report The costs and benefits of international students by parliamentary constituency, published by the Higher Education Policy Institute and Kaplan International Pathways, shows that after removing the costs of hosting the students – education, health and social security, for example – the net economic impact for Luton is £97.4 million a year and £93.6 million for the rest of Bedfordshire.

Mr Rammell said: “This is a hugely powerful report detailing the economic benefits international students bring to their local communities while they are studying in the UK.

“For Luton South alone, the parliamentary constituency where our main campus is located, international students contribute almost £67.6 million to the economy.

"This is a huge contribution to the economic prosperity of the region which cannot be ignored.

“It absolutely reinforces the need for the government to rethink its self-defeating policy towards international students, and take them out of the migration cap.”

The study analysed in detail the costs and benefits to the UK of welcoming 231,000 international students each year. It found that the average net impact for a student from the EU is £68,000. For students from non-EU countries, the figure rises to £95,000.

Benefits exceeded costs in each of the UK’s 650 Parliamentary constituencies, the report found.

Higher Education Policy Institute director Nick Hillman said: “International students bring economic benefits to the UK that are worth ten times the costs of hosting them. Trying to persuade the Home Office that international students nearly always benefit the UK can feel like banging one’s head against a brick wall.

“In the past, they have not accepted figures on the benefits on the grounds that they ignore the costs. Our work, in contrast, includes all the potential costs and conclusively proves these are small compared to the huge benefits.”

The analysis concentrates on the cohort of international – EU and non-EU – first year students attending UK universities in 2015/16. 

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