Student migrants boost economy
Educated Europeans might escape a British crackdown on immigration. A new report revealed that international students have a net benefit of £22.6 billion for the British economy. The study from the Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI) found that students from abroad soaked up just over £2 billion in public services, such as health and education subsidies. Students from abroad contribute ten times more than they cost by pursuing essential careers in engineering, medicine and other disciplines, the report concluded. International students from both EU and non-EU countries were considered.
The report has led to calls for British Prime Minister Theresa May to exclude students from her looming immigration cuts. She plans to set an absolute yearly limit on all migration to the country. This would include students, leading to fears that key academic and professional sectors will suffer from a shortage of educated young professionals.
HEPI director Nick Hillman, a former advisor on further education policy, says the institute’s report clearly shows that the UK needs to attract more, not less, international students. Training an EU student in the UK has a net benefit of £87,000 to the country, yet Hillman said “trying to persuade the Home Office that international students nearly always benefit the UK can feel like banging one’s head against a brick wall.”
A pilot program helping disadvantaged youth in South Africa has completed its first year. AccessEd is the brainchild of the founders of the Brilliant Club, which brought talented PhD students into British high schools. AccessEd follows the same framework, placing postgraduate students into South African schools to encourage young pupils to consider attending university.
The program has so far involved 16 schools in some of the most impoverished areas of Cape Town and Johannesburg. Pupils often have no access to computers or even books and university is as distant as a career in Hollywood. Less than 10% of black pupils attend further education courses. AccessEd hopes to change that. Part of the program involves postgraduate students taking their pupils, aged 13-15, to university. They can see the organisation and social life first-hand, and meet students from similar backgrounds. This helps demystify the university experience and show them that, despite their disadvantages, nothing is impossible.
The original program, the Brilliant Club, has had remarkable success in the UK. In 2015-16 the charity placed more than 600 PhD researchers in schools across the country. They helped teach almost 10,000 disadvantaged students, who may have never considered going on to university.
Studying in luxury
Global real estate developers are making major investments in Europe’s student accommodation market. Greystar Real Estate Partners has recently announced that it has acquired Resa, Spain’s biggest university accommodation provider.
Headquartered in South Carolina, Greystar now has property portfolios aimed at the student market in Spain, the UK and The Netherlands. Greystar’s move comes quickly after the Dubai-based GSA Group announced plans to target Germany and Spain’s lucrative student rental markets. Founder Nicholas Porter says the two countries are full of untapped housing potential. He has said that, despite its quality education system, Germany is "20 years behind the UK" in terms of student accommodation. Meanwhile Spain has around 75,000 international students, compared to almost 400,000 in the UK.
The trendy new phase is Purpose Built Student Accommodation (PBSA). Property developers, funded by a range of global investors, are building new student housing across the EU. These new housing options are smarter, more modern, and better located than traditional dormitories. Many are aimed directly at wealthy non-EU students who are prepared to pay thousands each month for top accommodation.
International students are also more likely to prefer studios. The number of student studios on offer in the UK market doubled last year.