International students add US$627 million to economy

The net contribution to the economy of the 5,046 international students graduating with masters degrees in 2007-11, when deducting for all costs incurred for higher education and welfare expenses, including for those receiving Danish student financing or SU, was DKK4 billion (US$627 million) in 2007-11.

The cost benefit analysis by Damvad, commissioned by Universities Denmark, the Danish rectors’ conference, was published on 7 November.

Universities Denmark, or DU, said that there is a tendency to look upon foreign students as an economic burden for Danish society since some of them might get Danish SU financial support, and because many return to their home countries after they have graduated. But in reality, there is a significant economic gain for Denmark to educate young people from abroad.

DU Chairman Professor Anders Bjarklev said: “I hope this analysis can contribute positively to the discussion on how we can have international students staying in Denmark instead of how we keep them out of Denmark.”

The Damvad analysis found that one year after graduation 60% of graduates were staying on in Denmark and after eight years 30% were still staying on. After eight years 64% were in full-time work, and another 13% in part-time work.

After one year the average gross salary of an international masters candidate was DKK330,000 (US$51,700), rising to DKK433,548 (US$68,000) after five years and DKK523,149 (US$82,000) after eight years.

All international graduates contributed positively to the Danish economy with DKK799,000 on average. Graduates in technological and natural science academic fields contributed on average just above DKK1 million while students in the humanities and social sciences contributed DKK455,000 and DKK600,000 on average.