How International Students Add Billions To Economy Of The UK

According to the latest statistics and figures, international students, who flock to the UK every year, help to generate the impact of more than £25 billion to the economy.

Research, which has focused on data between 2014 and 2015, shows that the money spent by these foreign students has helped to support over 205,000 jobs in university towns and cities. These figures were compiled to show the impact that international students have in the UK.

This staggering figure is made up from amounts that the students spent on anything from university fees and expenses while living on campus and included the totals they spent on living and socialising outside their university lives. These figures included aspects such as transport costs, cultural activities, sports games and recreational events.

Deanna Fleming, a professor at Manchester MET suggested, “Some international students have resorted to using online tools to complete their work, in some cases, I have even suggested for them to use them. When writing dissertations and long research essays, paper techniques such as citations must be used but most professors and lecturers don't have the time or the resources to educate students how to use them. We have to resort to sending them to online tools such as Cite It In.”

It's interesting to see where all the money that international students are spending goes. From high street stores, restaurants and trips around the UK to online shops and language teachers, every penny a student spends helps to boost the UK economy. Many students enrol for a number of years, anything from 3-7 years, meaning this is constant income for the country.

These sky-high figures also include the sums of money spent by families and relatives who travel in from abroad to visit their loved ones while they are based in the UK.

It goes without saying that the spending of international students provides an enormous export revenue and is a fantastic boost to the UK economy. This international spending contributed £10.8 billion out of the total export earnings in the UK during the same time frame.

If you begin to break down these figures, the researchers found that these students spent over £5 billion on products, activities and services that were not on campus grounds. Continuing to break this figure down, international students contributed £750 million to the retail industry and over £1 billion to the transport sectors.

In regards to how many students created this figure, 19% of UK university students are international students, which translates to around 437,000 students. Over the course of the year, the families and loved ones coming to the UK to visit these students contributed around £520 million on products, goods, services and activities such as hotels, restaurants, attractions and other recreational activities.  

In comparison, the United States still holds the title for the highest number of international students in higher education but there is a chance the UK could close this gap. By adopting a welcoming attitude towards foreign students and by ensuring the students are genuine and abide by visa and immigration rules. This is extremely important, especially with the Brexit process well underway.

Alex Dawson, a lecturer and economic expert based in London exclaims, “International students provide an incredible amount of income to the UK, in so many more ways than people think. Some students may enter the UK with a very low level of English and can find it difficult to translate lessons or in domestic environments. Many of them will employ the use of language teachers, once again adding to the economy and a large number of students have even been known to use writing solution services such as Ox Essays to complete essays and research papers, increasing the demand for these services tenfold.”

Another agency, UK Writings, agrees, stating, “Over the last few years, we have seen an incredible influx in the demand for our proofreading, editing and essay writing services. We believe that universities are not placing enough emphasis or support on these international students, especially when it comes to language and so the students feel the need to look for solutions elsewhere.”

It's not only UK-based writing services that are benefiting from this increase in international students. Many international students are resorting to completed entire essays and research papers using online tools due to the lack of support from their respective universities.

The UK is renowned for having a long-standing and well-established education system that helps to support and encourage students from all over the world to be a part of it. As long as the process is well managed and organised, the UK and the students can both benefit greatly.

Luckily, despite the upcoming Brexit outcome, the UK remains one of the most popular countries in the world for international students around the world and there are currently no plans to cap the number of students entering the country for study reasons, meaning year on year both the economy and the universities will benefit greatly.


Brenda Berg is a professional with over 15 years of experience in business management, marketing and entrepreneurship. Consultant and tutor for college students and entrepreneurs. She believes that constant learning is the only way to success. 

- Brenda Berg