Almost one in five students in Wales in 2013/14 hailed from overseas and one Welsh job was created for every three non-EU students in the country and every five EU students in Wales.
Of the 25,605 students enrolled in 2013/14 from 145 countries, almost half came from Asia. Altogether, international students represented 19% of the total student population.
Universities Wales released the report – an update of a 2011 study – to provide updated findings on the value of the industry and also to show how the industry impacts on all regions of Wales.
The consulting firm behind the study was able to demonstrate how economic impact flows further afield from areas that do not have a university through “ripple effects”.
The report shows that £89m of GVA [gross value added – a measure of net wealth] was generated and 1,756 jobs created (nearly 23% of the total) by Welsh universities in parts of Wales that do not have a university on their doorstep.
Welsh Education Minister, Huw Lewis said: “This report really does show the genuine value that the higher education sector brings to our economy and it only serves to emphasise the importance of building, fostering and developing strong links with higher education institutions from across the world”.
Now, a new partnership branding itself as Global Wales – comprising Universities Wales, the Welsh Government, British Council Wales and the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales – will emerge to promote Welsh universities in key overseas markets with a view to building new collaborative ventures.
Jenny Scott, director at British Council Wales, commented, “Higher education is one of Wales’ most valuable cultural assets and the growing population of international students at our world class universities is helping Wales build lasting friendships with the rest of the world.
“As this timely report demonstrates, the huge cultural value of international student mobility is matched by the economic value such students and their families bring to communities right across Wales.”