oa Journal of Economic and Financial Sciences - The expenditure and foreign revenue impact of international students on the South African economy

Volume 4, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1995-7076



In South Africa, there is still no clear policy of internationalisation of higher education, partly due to limited research. So far, only two efforts - at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) in 2004 and Rhodes University in 2005 - have been made to determine the expenditure and foreign revenue impact of international students on South Africa. Each of these papers sampled only a single university, so they are of limited use for national impact analysis. To build on these studies, this research was conducted at six South African universities that admit the largest number of international students and also included the economic effects of spending items hitherto neglected. We show that international students (mainly from Africa) contribute significantly to South African GDP and balance of payments, but that South Africa still lags behind in exploiting and enhancing these benefits.

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