International students bringing £312m to Scottish economy



Lindsey Paterson
Lindsey Paterson

International students are a boon to the Scottish economy, contributing an estimated £312 million per annum, according to global accountants PwC.

And even when any potential impact on public services such as the NHS is taken into account, the net benefit is thought to be as much as £257 million each year.

PwC said that in the 2014/15 academic year alone, 34,670 international students from outside the EU travelled to Scotland to study at one of the country’s 18 higher education establishments.

When it comes to attracting international (non-EU) students,

However, PwC pointed the finger at the British Immigration system, which is viewed as particularly complex, for impacting international students’ overall experience of studying in the UK and making it difficult to secure work once they’ve graduated.

Lindsey Paterson, higher education specialist in PwC in Scotland, said: “Our Scottish universities and colleges are competing in a global marketplace and it’s vital that Government supports them in attracting the brightest academic talent not just from here in the UK, but from the EU and further afield.

“International students not only help to broaden our own students’ vision and perspective in the classroom but have a major economic impact, through their fees and consumer spending.

“With a lot at stake, not just for the Scottish and UK economy but for the future growth and prosperity of our higher education establishments, it’s clear that more needs to be done to inform and improve immigration policies and targets.”

The figures follow the release of major new research from PwC and London First on the impact of international students on London and the UK economy, which revealed that in London they bring a net economic benefit of £2.3 billion and support nearly 70,000 jobs in the Capital because of the money they spend.