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Times letter – international students make huge contribution to the UK

30 August 2016

The President of Universities UK Dame Julia Goodfellow has written an open letter, published in The Times newspaper, which highlights the huge contribution international students make to the UK.

 The letter highlights that international students do not only make a significant contribution to the UK economy, but also make a vital academic and cultural contribution to university campuses across the UK.

The letter was published following speculation that the UK government is considering plans to cut the number of genuine international students coming to the UK to study for a period.


The Times letter in full:

Sir, Reducing the number of genuine international students coming to the UK for periods of study will damage the British economy (“Welcome Students”, leading article, Aug 26).

International (non-EU) students make a £7 billion contribution to the UK economy, generating 137,000 jobs across the UK. They also enrich our campuses and the experience of UK students, both academically and culturally. Many return home having forged strong professional and personal links that provide long-term benefits for the UK.

Our higher education sector is one of the UK’s major success stories; we have the second-largest share of the global market, behind the US. Moreover, polling has shown that the British public do not see international students as long-term migrants, but as valuable, temporary visitors. International students come to the UK, study for a period, and then the overwhelming majority go home.

If we are to meet the government’s target of increasing education exports to £30 billion by 2020, it needs a new approach to immigration that is welcoming to international students.

Dame Julia Goodfellow
President, Universities UK


Key Contacts

Gareth Morgan

Gareth Morgan

Media Relations Manager
Universities UK

Clara Plackett

Clara Plackett

Press and Social Media Officer
Universities UK


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