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Measuring the economic impacts of inbound higher education mobility, a research summary

The Tempus Public Foundation (TPF) is continuously studying the trends and impact of inbound student mobility in Hungary. The surveys primarily focus on the role of Stipendium Hungaricum Scholarship Programme in changing trends of international student mobility but nowadays increasing number of studies provide information about the various aspects of student mobility.

As the research summary of the “Measuring the economic impacts of inbound higher education mobility”, the publication covers the main results and consequences of the research project conducted between July 2019 and July 2020.  The aim of the research is to measure the local as well as systemic level economic impact of certain target groups of international students (Erasmus+ students, Stipendium Hungaricum grant beneficiaries, and fee-paying students) and to analyse their multiplier economic effects and their role in tourism, as well as to examine their participation in the studentification process of each university city.

Concerning the empirical findings, it is important to highlight that the value added to national economy by the three target groups of international students studying in Hungary is considerable. The impact of the consumption of international students on regional development is different: the role of the capital city is the most significant, followed by three large university cities, namely Pécs, Szeged, and Debrecen. Regarding the contribution to the tourism sector, the results indicate that international students’ spendings present an important market within the tourism sector in Hungary. Their consumption and the contribution of their guests (the so-called ‘invisible tourism’) are quite considerable. The analysis of the studentification processes shows that the capital city is the most popular destination for international students to study in Hungary. The quality of public transport in Budapest, its cultural values, sights, and other quality services play a significant role in the satisfaction with the city. With regard to the other university cities, the gaps between student needs and supply are more visible.

Using the Hungarian experience, this study contributes to the literature on the impact of international students, and the analysis of their role in economic processes.

The publication is available here.