A new report highlighting the positive impact of international students has shown that just one year’s intake is worth over £240m to the Tees Valley economy.
The report, The costs and benefits of international higher education students to the UK economy, has been published by the Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI) and Universities UK International (UUKi), with research from London Economics.
It found that the benefits of hosting international students significantly outweighs the costs associated with things such as healthcare, housing and social security.
The estimated benefits of international students across their entire period of study is worth £28.8 billion to the UK economy, the report found. This is based on 2018/19 data when there were over 270,000 new international students in the UK.
The Tees Valley accounted for over 2,500 new international students during that period and, when the data was broken down regionally, it showed that international students had a total net impact of £243.1m to the Tees Valley region.
The financial impact accounted for things such as tuition fees income, living costs and general spending, as well as income associated with friends and family visiting during the duration of their studies.
Individually, the total benefit to the UK economy associated with a typical EU student was £94,000, compared to a non-EU student which was estimated at £109,000.
As well as the financial impact, international students also help to create a vibrant and diverse student community and enrich the overall student experience.
Teesside University currently has over 3,900 international students from over 100 countries studying at both Middlesbrough and Darlington campuses.
International students are also positive about their experiences at Teesside University, with the average satisfaction rate with support scoring 95.8% in the International Student Barometer 2021 (780 students participated),
Dr David Bell, pro vice chancellor (international) at Teesside University, said: “Teesside is an international university, working in partnership with global institutions to deliver educational excellence.
“This report makes for extremely positive reading. We truly value all of our international students and the contributions they make to our university and the region as a whole.
“Our student body is increasingly diverse and we welcome students from all nations to study here. Internationalisation is embedded within the student journey in many ways, including the opportunity to study abroad and live projects with fellow learners and companies around the world.
“This allows all of our students to develop a global perspective and enriches the student and learning experience.”
Universities UK International and HEPI are calling for more to be done to promote the UK as a welcoming, diverse and accessible study destination.
“This report confirms higher education is one of the UK’s greatest export earners, said Nick Hillman, Director of HEPI.
“But international students do not just bring financial benefits. They also bring educational benefits by making our campuses more diverse and exciting places to be.
“To make the most of these benefits, we need to provide a warm welcome, ensure our educational offer remains competitive and help international students secure fulfilling careers after study.”
Vivienne Stern, director of universities UK International, added: “While there has been a growing realisation of the tremendous social and cultural benefits of international students, this study provides a stark reminder of their financial importance to communities across the UK, economic recovery and the levelling up agenda.”