International Students Keep London Alive

London street

According to a recent survey conducted by London First, international students who come to study in London are essential for the economics of the city and the UK as a whole. They bring approximately £2.3 billion (US$3.54 billion) per annum to the British economy and support nearly 70,000 jobs in London alone.

In the 2013/14 academic year, there were as many as 67,405 international students across the 40 universities in London. 60% said they were likely to do business with the UK after graduating, according to the same report, with the majority claiming that study in London had improved their career prospects. The popularity of study in London may also be due to the tolerant atmosphere of the city, with 76% of those surveyed saying they felt welcome during their studies and only 22% of Brits thinking of international students as immigrants. Moreover, 75% of the locals said they would like the government to allow international students to stay in the UK after finishing their higher education in the country.

Despite the array of world-class education providers across the nation, the majority of overseas students tend to study in London, with 22% of all the UK’s foreign students located there. They claim that they feel the British capital has the most to offer in regards to work opportunities and multicultural community. According to the latest QS Best Student Cities 2015 report, London was ranked as the third most desired student city in the world, due to its outstanding higher education system, international reputation, culture and opportunities.

An integral part of higher education in the capital, international students make up 18% of all enrolments across universities in London. In fact, 39% of the total tuition fee income of universities in London comes from foreign students alone. However, due often to the terms of their student visas and their finances, only 12% of them choose to remain in the UK after graduation.

Breaking down the 2013/14 academic year in London further by degree level, we are able to see that almost half of all London’s students weren’t UK residents:

Undergraduate students:

  • 58% came from the UK
  • 29% came from non-EU countries
  • 13% came from EU countries

Postgraduate students:

  • 66% came from the UK
  • 23% came from non-EU countries
  • 11% came from EU countries

For those interested in where London’s non-EU students are hailing from, the report also provides the following breakdown of the numbers of overseas students at universities in London for the 2013/14 academic year:

  1. China – 87,895
  2. India – 19,750
  3. Nigeria – 18,020
  4. Malaysia – 16,635
  5. United States – 16,485
  6. Hong Kong – 14,725
  7. Saudi Arabia – 9,060
  8. Singapore – 6,790
  9. Pakistan – 6,665
  10. Canada – 6,350

All other countries: 107,820

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