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University says Kent cashes in with share of £25 billion spend in local economy from foreign students

PUBLISHED: 16:59 07 March 2017 | UPDATED: 16:59 07 March 2017

University of Kent aerial view

University of Kent aerial view

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Last figures for the University of Kent in Canterbury demonstrated more than £60.3m invested locally

International students at the University of Kent are helping pump tens of millions of pounds into the local economy, with the overall figure for the UK topping £25 billion.

Figures published this week show students coming to the UK to study provide a significant boost to regional jobs and local businesses.

It comes amid mounting concerns from higher education establishments over the possible impact of Brexit on attracting international students in the coming years.

Connducted for Universities UK by Oxford Economics, the research looked at the economic impact of international students in 2014–15. It shows spending by international students supported 206,600 jobs in university towns and cities across the UK.

In the south east, the region’s universities attracted 49,995 students from outside the UK in 2014-15. International students’ off-campus expenditure of £641m in the south east generated £780m of output and 5,247 full-time equivalent jobs.

International students also attract a significant number of overseas visitors during their time studying in the UK. The expenditure of these friends and relatives, at hotels, restaurants, and attractions also makes a significant contribution to the economy.

At the University of Kent, the latest figures available, for 2012/13, show that more than 4,530 international students spent a total of £60.3m off-campus, generating £68.6m of output and 597 full-time equivalent jobs in the south east.

The university’s dean for internationalisation, Dr Anthony Manning, said: “When the University of Kent opened its doors in 1965, just four per cent of its students came from overseas.

“Today, that figure is 25 per cent with more than 140 nationalities represented among the student population, creating a dynamic and stimulating environment.

“As this new report shows, the spending of international students and their visitors now provides a major export boost for the UK economy. This is not something limited to London or to one or two big cities, but to towns and cities across the whole nation.

“While this report focuses on economic impact, it is important to remember that international students are also crucial to the diversity of our campuses and the experience of UK students, both academically and culturally. When students return home or move on to the world of work, it is these strong professional and personal links that provide long-term, ‘soft power’ benefits for the UK.”

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