April 13, 2016, by Léonie Mathers
EU students vital to regional economies and jobs, according to Universities UK study
A Universities UK analysis, based on 2011–12 student number figures, indicates that EU students at UK universities generate £3.7bn for the UK economy and support over 34,000 jobs in all corners of the country.
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]).
The analysis 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.
The Universities UK analysis reveals that EU students generated £143m for the regional economy and 1,341 jobs in the East Midlands. The impact of EU students across the other 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 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 £414.1m 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
Commenting on the figures, Dame Julia Goodfellow, President of Universities UK and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Kent, said: “EU students make an enormous contribution to British university life and local communities. The figures show clearly that EU students spend money and create jobs in all regions and corners of the UK. EU students also make a very important academic and cultural contribution to university life, creating an international, outward-looking culture on campuses which, in turn, benefits UK students.
“Leaving the EU and putting up barriers to work and study makes it more likely that European students and researchers will choose to go elsewhere, strengthening our competitors and weakening the UK’s universities.”
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.”