Considering the Value of Foreign Students to West Midlands Is an Education

Article excerpt

Byline: By Shahid Naqvi Education Correspondent

Foreign students spend more than pounds 500 million in the West Midlands every year - as much as the income generated by Birmingham's booming legal sector.

The financial contribution made by overseas' students in the West Midlands is also equal to a fifth of the total wealth made from the city's financial services industry.

Their massive economic benefit is revealed in a new study by the British Council highlighting the economic worth of Britain's education system to the UK.

According to the British Council, overseas students spent pounds 8.5 billion last year, representing a 39 per cent increase since 2004.

In the West Midlands, they shelled out pounds 101.5 million on tuition fees alone.

When living expenses are factored in, the figure soars to about pounds 500 million - a fifth of the pounds 2.5 billion annual revenue hauled in by Birmingham's financial services sector.

British universities are increasingly keen on attracting students from outside Europe who pay more than twice as much as those in the EU.

Warwick University has about 3,500 non-European students out of a total population of 20,000. Students from overseas spend about pounds 8,000 a year on fees, but considerably more on living expenses.

Peter Dunn, spokesman for the university, said: "It's not just the money. It is the reputation of the West Midlands. Universities can only succeed by becoming global. …