The important social and economic contribution of London’s international students

As we look ahead to the release of our International Education Strategy for London next week, we want to acknowledge the enormous social and economic contribution made by London’s international students.

Almost one in three of London’s 485,000-strong student population are international students, with approximately 70,300 first-year international students coming to study in London each year. The incredible economic boost that these students give to the city and the country is around £4.6 billion annually.

And, the financial benefits of London’s international pulling power can be felt right across the country, with all regions of the UK gaining financially from having international students in the country. International student fee income that is used by higher education institutions to support jobs and services across all sectors of the UK economy, together with the extra money that is spent by international students and their friends and families who visit them throughout their stay in the UK.

The £88 million of net economic impact per parliamentary constituency, and total £6.4bn in the whole of London that is generated from just one year’s cohort of international students, and which not only helps to support the diversity of teaching provision that is available in the capital, but also props up the wider UK university research and development system and its vast networks of inter-regional collaborations, essential for UK growth and prosperity.

If we are to turbocharge our international education export ambitions for the decade ahead, then, we need London and its higher education sector to continue acting as a gateway for global talent and should be investing heavily in making sure the London entry point to the UK’s international education and skills pipeline is as attractive as possible.

Our International Education Strategy for London aims to help London play its role in the wider UK international education ecosystem to the best of its abilities, setting out ways in which London’s higher education and research sector can work best in the current context.