Exeter University’s international students contribute over £57 million a year to the city economy, and a total of £68 million to the South West economy, according to a new report.
The research by Oxford Economics shows that spending by overseas students supports around 2,100 jobs in Exeter, 2.3 per cent of the city’s total.
Exeter University has over 4,000 international students from 130 different countries. In addition to the immense cultural benefits they bring, hosting international students boosts the local economy in a number of ways: they pay fees to the university; they spend money on food, accommodation and socialising; and friends and families in turn ‘buy local’ when they visit.
Of the amount spent on course fees this year, almost £28 million was pumped into the Exeter economy. Of the £44 million that international students spent on living expenses, £24 million was spent inside Exeter. Furthermore, the report estimates spending by visitors to Exeter, whose primary reason was to visit an international student at the university, at around £5 million. The combined impact on Exeter’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is £57.4 million. This equates to 1.6 per cent of total Exeter GDP.
The calculations are conservative and do not include the multi-million pound investments into our campus infrastructure to teach and accommodate international students.
Dr Shaun Curtis, director of International Exeter, said: “We are privileged to host more than 4,000 international students from over 130 countries across our three campuses. Our communities in Devon and Cornwall are enriched by the presence of so many cultures. In an increasingly globalised world, friendships forged in the South West of England today will benefit us all long into the future. Our international students will remember fondly not just that they had a quality experience at one of Britain’s top universities, but that this experience was in the South West of England.
“This report highlights the significant economic contribution our overseas students make to the city and wider region. Thousands of jobs depend on their presence today, and many more will depend on them in the future. Our students will return home to eventually play important roles in their countries and they are likely to develop a taste for UK products both in their personal and professional lives. A bias in favour of anything British will have considerable long-term impacts upon the Exeter, South West and UK economies.”