Commenting on speculation that the UK Government may look to cut international student numbers, Vivienne Stern MBE, Chief Executive of Universities UK, said:
Cutting international student numbers would run directly counter to the government’s strategy to rebuild the economy – given the huge financial contribution they make to every part of the country.
“International students make a net positive contribution of at least £26 billion per year to the UK economy and are the source of almost 70% of our education export earnings. They sustain jobs in towns and cities up and down the country. They also bring enormous benefits to university campuses. The financial contribution they make has been essential, given the long term decline in funding for teaching UK undergraduate students, and balancing the books on research.
“Limiting international students would be an act of economic self-harm that would damage many parts of the country the government aims to make more prosperous.
“We should be proud that UK universities are held in such high esteem around the world that we are one of the most popular places to study. Instead of doing down a great strength of the UK, government should support it. We need a long term, stable policy approach in international visas, which is tough on abuse but supports long term, managed growth.
Vivienne Stern MBE
Chief Executive of Universities UK
Notes to editors
- According to research from the Higher Education Policy Institute, in conjunction with Universities UK, international students make a net positive contribution of more than £25.9 billion to the UK’s economy, with every part of the UK financially better off – on average by £390 per person – because of international students.
- International students face strict visa checks and must be able to prove their financial status to be able to come to this country. For example, an international student bringing a spouse and two children under the age of 18 would need to evidence in excess of £30,500 just in order to apply to come to the UK. This figure is at the lower end of the spectrum, with those looking to study for longer, or live in London, or bringing significantly more dependants able to evidence tens of thousands more before making an application to come to the UK.