The West Midlands gets a £219m and 2,079 jobs boost from EU students

EU students at universities in the West Midlands generate £219m for the region’s economy and support 2,079 jobs, according to analysis from Universities UK.

Universities in the region include the University of Birmingham, Coventry University and Aston University. 

New analysis looks at the impact of EU students across all regions and nations of the UK. Currently, there are around 125,000 students from other EU countries studying at UK universities, representing 5% of the total UK student population [the top 5 EU countries sending students to the UK are: Germany (13,675 students), France (11,955), Ireland (10,905), Italy (10,525) and Greece (10,130)].

 The evidence* shows that in the West Midlands:

 •EU students contributed £91.7m to the regional economy through spending on-campus (money paid directly to universities in fees and costs) 

 •They also contributed £127.3m to the regional economy through spending on goods and services off-campus (such as food, rent, going out etc) 

 •This combined (on-campus and off-campus) expenditure generated a total of £219m for the region’s economy 

•Through their on-campus expenditure (supporting 1,037 jobs) and spending off-campus (supporting 1,042 jobs), EU students supported or created a total of 2,079 (FTE) jobs in the region

 Across the UK, EU students at UK universities generate a total of £3.7bn for the UK economy and support over 34,000 jobs.


In the West Midlands, EU students generated £219m for the regional economy and 2,079 jobs

Neena Gill MEP said: " The EU is a major funder of University research and study programmes. This funding is invaluable and so many students and academics benefit directly from this inward investment. Yet, the benefits don't stop there, which is why I welcome these findings as they go some way to evidencing the longer-term and wider impacts for the region. I'm sure that this kind of EU investment helps in ways that are impossible to measure as well. "

Professor John Latham, Vice-Chancellor of Coventry University, said: “As a university which prides itself on the vibrancy and international diversity of its population, we’re in no doubt about the significant contribution students from Europe make not only to our own community of learning, but also to local communities in the city. Today’s figures reveal that our university, our neighbouring universities and the region as a whole have benefited enormously from the EU students who come to study here. They make an enormous contribution to academic life and to the student experience, and they support our economy by boosting regional growth and creating jobs for local people. I am proud that these students from across Europe are choosing Coventry as their place of study.”


1.The report analyses the impact of EU students across the regions of the UK and was prepared for Universities UK by Ursula Kelly, Viewforth Consulting Ltd. The regions and nations covered in the analysis are the nine English regions (East of England; East Midlands; London; North East; North West; South East; South West; West Midlands; and Yorkshire and Humberside) together with Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. 

2.The primary source for all English regions is the analysis contained with the Impact of Universities on the UK Economy (UUK 2014), which is based on the 2011/12 year. For Wales and Northern Ireland, the analysis drew on studies of higher education undertaken for Universities Wales (2013, 2015) and for the Department and Employment and Learning in Northern Ireland (2015). For Scotland, the analysis drew on a study undertaken for the University of Glasgow (2016) which had included disaggregated analysis of EU student impact on Scotland and rest of UK. All of the studies were undertaken within the same overall modelling framework, hence are compatible. The work rebased all of the figures on 2011/12 for internal consistency and used the student numbers for 2011/12 (HESA 2013).

3.The total impact of all the regions will sum to the UK-wide impact but the sum of the specifically identified  impact on each region will be less than the total UK impact - with the remaining  impact ( in this case c. 5000 jobs and £600m of output) being spread across the UK but without being attributed to any specific region.

4.The figures in paragraph two are based on the HESA record for academic year 2014–15.

5.The Universities for Europe campaign has also highlighted how membership of the European Union enhances international collaboration between researchers, enabling ground-breaking research that improves people’s lives in the UK – from medicine and healthcare to new materials, products and services. Working together, UK and European researchers can pool their resources, expertise, data and infrastructure to achieve more together than they could do alone. UK universities received just under €5 billion of research funding over the period 2007-2013 (European Commission, 2014). Click here to see case studies from academics in the UK on why, and how, the EU has helped them to collaborate on important research projects. 

6.Being in the EU also makes it easier for UK universities to attract talented staff from across Europe. 15% of academic staff at UK universities are from other EU countries.

7.Membership of the EU also enables UK students to study in other parts of the EU. For example, over 200,000 UK students and 20,000 UK university staff have spent time abroad through the Erasmus exchange programme, enhancing their employability and promoting understanding between people and cultures. 

8.The Universities for Europe campaign, led by Universities UK, is ensuring that the university sector is a strong, positive voice in the referendum debate. The campaign promotes powerful evidence and highlights compelling stories about the benefits of EU membership for UK universities, and the British people. For more information (facts & figures) and the latest campaign updates, visit:

9.Universities UK is the representative organisation for the UK’s universities. Founded in 1918, its mission is to be the definitive voice for all universities in the UK, providing high quality leadership and support to its members to promote a successful and diverse higher education sector. With 133 members and offices in London, Cardiff (Universities Wales) and Edinburgh (Universities Scotland), it promotes the strength and success of UK universities nationally and internationally. Visit:

*(based on 2011-12 student number figures)