Arc Universities

A new report has unveiled the economic benefits that international students bring to the East of England.


The report published by Universities UK International (UUKi), the Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI) and Kaplan International Pathways, in collaboration with London Economics, has unveiled the economic benefits that international students bring to Bedfordshire and across the East of England.

According to the latest ‘Costs and benefits of international higher education students to the UK’ study, the East of England  is home to 24,835 international students who economically contribute 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.

Of these first year international students 3,030 are based in Bedfordshire, contributing a NET impact of over £280m to the region’s economy – £129.7m of which is contributed to Luton and £43.5m to Bedford alone.

The report, which was commissioned to explore the impact of international students to the UK economy, reveals economic benefits have risen from £31.3bn to £41.9bn between 2018/19 and 2021/22 – an increase of 34%. The data also confirms that – even when accounting for the impact on public services (estimated at £4.4 billion) – the economic benefits of UK universities hosting international students significantly outweigh the costs with a total NET benefit of £37.4 billion. Data from the report indicates that every 11 non-EU students generate £1m worth of NET economic impact for the UK economy.

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