Aston University responds to inquiry on international students

international students at Aston University
International students contribute hugely to local economy

31 January 2018 

  • International students in West Midlands generate £1.95 billion net impact on the region
  • Benefits of overseas students studying in UK are ten times greater than the costs
  • Aston University highlights positive financial and social impact to Government inquiry

Aston University has highlighted the huge financial and social impact international students and alumni have on the Midlands region in its submission to the Migration Advisory Committee, the agency set up to advise the Government on migration issues.

The Migration Advisory Committee is undertaking a year-long inquiry into the economic and social impact of international students in the UK.

Major new research by London Economics, commissioned by the Higher Education Policy Institute and Kaplan International Pathways, shows that the benefits of international students studying in the UK are ten times greater than the costs.

The study – The costs and benefits of international students by parliamentary constituency – reveals international students have a net positive economic impact on the UK as a whole, and across all regions.

For the West Midlands alone, the analysis reveals international students generate a £1.95 billion net impact on the region. Only the South East region and the London area generate more at £2.44 billion and £4.64 billion, respectively.   

Professor Alec Cameron, Vice Chancellor of Aston University said: “The international students enrolled on our university courses enrich the learning environment on campus and contribute hugely to local businesses and the local economy in many ways.

“We have highlighted this positive input in our response to the Migration Advisory Committee. However, it doesn’t end with our current students. Aston’s international alumni continue to make a significant contribution to the UK economy and society long after they have graduated by generating soft power for the UK from abroad. It is impossible to put a figure on that impact.

“We are calling on the Government to safeguard the UK’s position as a premier destination for international students, by ensuring the UK’s student and post-study work visas are attractive compared to our international competitors.” 

The research study provides for the first time a detailed analysis of the costs as well as the benefits to the UK of welcoming 231,000 new international students each year.    

The gross benefits of international students, including tuition fees, other spending and economic knock-on effects, amount to £22.6 billion, which works out at an average £87,000 for each EU student and £102,000 for each non EU student. 

The public costs of hosting international students, including education, health and social security, total £2.3 billion which amounts to an average £19,000 for each EU and £7,000 for non EU student. 


Notes to the editor 

The Higher Education Policy Institute.  HEPI is the UK’s only independent think tank dedicated to higher education. For more information about the research see The Costs and Benefits of International Students by Parliamentary Constituency report.

Aston University.  For more detail see Aston University’s full response to the Migration Advisory Committee.

Founded in 1895 and a University since 1966, Aston is a long established research-led university known for its world-class teaching quality and strong links to business and the professions. Aston University is located in Birmingham and at the heart of a vibrant city and the campus houses all the university’s academic, social and accommodation facilities for our students. Professor Alec Cameron is the Vice Chancellor and Chief Executive.

Aston has been a leading university for graduate employment success for over 25 years and our students do extremely well in securing top jobs and careers.  Our strong relationships with industry partners mean we understand the needs of employers, reflected in our ranking in the top 20 for graduate employability.

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