Published: 8 April 2016

Universities UK highlights importance of EU students

study abroad students

EU students at UK universities generate £3.7bn for the UK economy and support over 34,000 jobs in all corners of the country, according to analysis from Universities UK.

The new analysis looks at the impact of EU students across all regions and nations of the UK. Currently, there are around 125,000 students from other EU countries studying at UK universities, representing 5% of the total UK student population (the top 5 EU countries sending students to the UK are: Germany [13,675 students], France [11,955], Ireland [10,905], Italy [10,525] and Greece [10,130]).

Supporting jobs

The analysis (which is based on 2011–12 student number figures) shows that:

  • EU students spent £220m on campus (money paid directly to universities in fees and costs) – generating £1.44bn for the UK economy.
  • They also spent £1.49bn on goods and services off-campus (such as food, rent, going out etc) – generating a further £2.27bn.
  • This combined (on-campus and off-campus) expenditure generated a total of £3.7bn for the whole UK economy.
  • Through their on-campus expenditure (supporting 15,252 jobs) and spending off-campus (supporting 18,998 jobs), EU students supported or created a total of 34,250 (FTE) jobs throughout the UK.

Regional impact

The analysis showed the impact of EU students across all regions and nations of the UK:

  • In the East of England, EU students generated £247.5m for the regional economy and 2,295 jobs
  • In the East Midlands, EU students generated £143m for the regional economy and 1,341 jobs
  • In London, EU students generated £788.9m for the regional economy and 7,580 jobs
  • In the North East of England, students generated £82m for the regional economy and 770 jobs
  • In the North West of England,EU students generated £221.6m for the regional economy and 2,112 jobs
  • In the South East of England, EU students generated £420.3m for the regional economy and 4,021 jobs
  • In the South West of England, EU students generated £168.2m for the regional economy and 1,481 jobs
  • In the West Midlands, EU students generated £219m for the regional economy and 2,079 jobs
  • In Yorkshire and Humberside, EU students generated £167.7m for the regional economy and 1,638 jobs
  • In Scotland, EU students generated £414.1 for the economy and 3,743 jobs
  • In Northern Ireland, EU students generated £78.1m for the economy and 841 jobs
  • In Wales, EU students generated £132.9m for the economy and 1,264 jobs

Regional growth

Commenting on the figures, Vice-Chancellor, Professor Janet Beer, said: “The figures reveal that the University and region have benefited enormously from the EU students who come to study here.

“I am proud that students from across Europe choose to study at Liverpool. They make an enormous contribution to academic life and to the student experience, and they support our economy by boosting regional growth and creating jobs for local people.”

Universities and Science Minster, Jo Johnson, said: “Our success as a knowledge economy hinges on our ability to collaborate with the best minds from across Europe and the world.

“It would be reckless to cut ourselves off from the rich sources of EU funding, the access to valuable shared research facilities and the close institutional ties that provide so many opportunities to British students and academics.

“UK students benefit from their ability to study across the EU, while EU students generate billions for the UK economy, support thousands of jobs and enrich university life. I share the clear view of my predecessors and the majority of university leaders that our world-class universities and our scientific prowess will be much better off inside the EU.”

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