Exploring the Impact of Indian Students on the Western Economy

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Traditionally, Indians have a larger influence coming from the West and therefore it wouldn’t be wrong to say that Indian students are attracted to the idea of studying abroad. Top-notch education and international exposure paint a picture that makes students opt for this choice.

What are the countries that pop up in your mind if you wish to pursue your former part of education abroad? The answer is probably the United States of America (USA), Canada, followed by the United Kingdom (UK). Having said that, are Indian students aware of how are they playing a vital role in boosting the foreign economy?

According to the data from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), a larger chuck of Indian students, specifically from Punjab, pursue courses in Canada. The total number of Punjabi students enrolled in Canadian educational institutions is estimated to be around 3.4 lakh. Following that, IRCC also revealed that Indian students contributed an anticipated Canadian Dollar (CAD) of 10.2 billion out of 22.3 billion from other international students in the year 2022.

In line with Sikh Vox, a website associated with the Sikh Diaspora, claims that Indian students have approximately contributed Rs 68,000 crore which makes $8 billion for Canada’s annual economy. This number is a summation of tuition fees, and living expenses along with several other expenses.

Furthermore, an Indian publication mentioned that, in Ontario, their college fees accounted for 68 per cent of tuition fee revenues in 2020/21, totalling $1.7 billion.

“International students pay on average up to three times more in tuition than domestic students and they contribute to a significant portion of tuition fees collected across Canada. In Ontario, their college fees accounted for 68 per cent of tuition fee revenues in 2020/21, totalling $1.7 billion. That exceeds provincial funding provided to the public colleges in the province.”

Dr Gavan Conlon, a partner at London Economics, had been commissioned to conduct the analysis says that the students coming from overseas invest almost “10 times more into the economy than they take out” which ultimately uplifts local and national economic well-being.

Ties between India and Canada have been stronger except for the recent wreaking of havoc coming from the Canadian Prime Minister concerning Hardeep Singh Nijjar.

Shedding some light on the United Kingdom, it has become one of the top most chosen places by Indian students to complete their master’s degree or higher education. Someone amongst your friends or acquaintances might have mentioned flying to the UK for educational purposes. Therefore, the execution of these thoughts has helped pounds to grow by 34% in the recent past.

Data extracted from ‘The benefits and costs of international higher education students to the UK economy: Analysis for the 2021-22 cohort – May 2023‘ claims that economic benefits from foreign students have climbed from 31.3 billion pounds to 41.9 billion pounds between 2018-19 and 2021-22. This marks an increase of 34 per cent. In addition, the data also suggested that every 11 non-EU students generates 1 million pounds worth of net economic impact for the UK economy.

Talking about the United States of America, which is also known as ‘States’, has a different picture to show along with numbers. According to the US Department of Commerce, international students contributed a total of USD 44 billion to the US economy in 2019. This is inclusive of USD 7,69 billion from Indian students.

Having said that, the National Education Policy of 2020 has initiated support for Indians to achieve its UN Sustainable Development Goal 4, which focuses on ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education. This policy involves collaboration among various stakeholders, including the central government, state governments, private sector, NGOs, and educational institutions, to realize the vision of universal education. The policy also proposes increasing public expenditure on education to 6% of the GDP.

In conclusion, Indian students who ultimately fuel the Western economy are also shaping a brighter and interconnected future for India and the world. They are a beacon of hope and a testament to the power of determination, ambition, and the pursuit of knowledge.


  1. Nehal Nevle

    Great insight and nice website

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