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Sharing evidence of multifaceted impact of student mobility

The importance of showcasing rich and multifaceted impact of European and international short-term and long-term student mobility on individuals, higher education institutions, as well as the economy and society at large has been steadily growing. In a context of rising financial pressures and competing political priorities, demonstrating the added value of student mobility and its contribution to societal transformation and economic growth, beyond its personal and career impact on mobile individuals, has become an imperative for international higher education stakeholders in Europe and beyond. 

With this broad goal in mind, ACA members and partners organised a series of events in the last quarter of 2023, taking stock of existing quantitative and qualitative evidence on the socioeconomic footprint of student mobility, and discussing possible ways to further amplify its positive short-term and long-term effects 

On 7 December, ACA organised jointly with its 5 members the Norwegian Directorate for Higher Education and Skills (HK-dir), the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), the Czech National Agency for International Education and Research Czech Liaison Office for Education and Research in Brussels (DZS-CZELO), VLUHR International and Nuffic, a one-day event titled “Leveraging international student mobility for societal transformations and economic growth at Norway House in Brussels”. The event featured stakeholders’ views on the added value of student mobility, the most recent topics debated in the context of international degree mobility and credit mobility, and the overview of the existing evidence on its individual, institutional, regional, and national impact. The event debates can be watched on ACA’s Youtube channel. 

The Austrian Permanent Representation in Brussels organised, on 28 November 2023, a national level meeting looking at a broader, system-level impact: “Balanced mobility in the context of learning mobility: member states perspectives”. The event highlighted the insights from several ACA members’ countries (Austria, Croatia/AMEUP; Netherlands/Nuffic), as well as Denmark and Lithuania. 

On 16 November, ACA member Uni-Italia hosted, together with the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, the 4th Conference with International Higher Education Agencies “The economic impact of international students” in Rome, Italy. Speakers from DAAD, EDUFI, HARNO, IIE, Nuffic, and SEPIE (all members of ACA) as well as British Council and Campus France presented their national evidence and related activities, summarised in the overview reportThe Economic Impact of International Students and Graduates on Host Countries”.  

ACA members will continue to work on the topic of student mobility impact with a series of focused activities planned for 2024, including a joint study on the economic impact of Erasmus+ students and the related discussion at the upcoming What’s New in Brussels seminar on 25-26 January 2023 (early bird discount expires on 10 January 2024).