This Wednesday, the sixth edition of the study The economic impact of international students in Spain was presented, promoted by ICEX Espaa Exportacin e Inversiones and the association EDUESPAA, with the aim of analyzing the benefits of this economic activity not only by measuring the direct spending they make on these students, but also reflecting their considerable multiplier effect.
The results show that 1,044,898 international students were enrolled in Spanish institutions during the 2018-2019 academic year. It is estimated that its overall economic impact on the Spanish economy amounts to 3,795,740,732 euros and that the multiplier effect of student spending is 2.27.
A multiplier effect of 2.27 indicates that, for every euro spent on their academic program, these international students spent an additional 1.27 euro across a wide range of sectors of the Spanish economy.
As stated in her presentation by Xiana Mndez, Secretary of State for Commerce: “In addition to the economic results gathered in the study, it is necessary to take into account other long-term intangible benefits derived from international mobility in our theaters. class. When a student comes to Spain for training, he is exposed to our culture and he builds close and invisible bonds with our country that last a lifetime. Thus, these international students, who will become great professionals, will always see our country as an opportunity to invest, to build collaborative alliances and will be prescribers for Spain ”.
Spain has remained the preferred educational destination for international students over the past three decades, a trend that continued in 2018-2019.
It was the last step before the COVID-19 pandemic hit the world, almost perfecting student mobility. It is important to use the results of the year under review as a basis for predicting how the different categories of programs may best recover, helping Spain to re-establish its position as a preferred global destination.
Regarding the students of the Erasmus + program of the European Union, Coral Martnez scar, director of the Spanish Service for the Internationalization of Education (SEPIE), a public body attached to the Ministry of Universities which acts as an agency program in Spain, underlined that: “In the European ranking 2018-2019, Spain occupies the first place in the reception of Erasmus + students of higher education (well ahead of Germany, France, the United Kingdom or Italy), a position it has maintained without interruption since 2001, and second place in sending students (only behind France and far ahead of the rest of the program countries). In addition, Spain and its universities are open to talent, innovation and inclusion, and are a true international example in global rankings for the quality of higher education ”.
Importance of face-to-face training
A multiplier of 2.27 indicates a high level of dependence on students participating in in-person programs. In all categories except master’s degrees, participants spend more on the additional academic aspects of their experience than on their tuition. Even if these categories migrate to efficient virtual systems, the lack of international presence in Spain will result in significant revenue losses that will affect several industries.
This highlights the opportunity to strengthen the competitiveness of Spain as an educational destination, improving the quality of services and extra-academic elements. These are areas that institutions can optimize by integrating them into their programs or by providing them through external providers.
Enrollment in Spanish language programs is the most important: 47% of the total. It is followed by the students of the Instituto Cervantes who finish courses in its centers abroad and the candidates for its standardized tests, with 27%. The remaining 26% include masters, diplomas, study abroad and Erasmus + students.
Despite this, the highest impact per student is for international master’s students, followed by undergraduates. These two categories represent 15% of the international student population and, however, represent 65% of the economic impact of the Spanish export of educational services. These results place universities and professional colleges at the forefront of the industry.
Contribution to the tax system
International students and university providers contribute to the Spanish tax system in two ways. First of all, part of your indirect expenses (2,122,311,675 euros) is subject to VAT from 4% to 21%. Second, at least three types of programs (study abroad, language schools, and Instituto Cervantes) hire 7,791 teachers and staff for whom they make payments to the social security administration. Without the international education market, these highly qualified personnel would likely be part of the unemployed population.
International education is not a big industry. Most of its representatives are medium and small schools, professionals and civil servants and local businesses.