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Southern MPs Todd Barclay and Sarah Dowie have welcomed this week’s publication of new research showing the significant economic benefits of international education for Southland and Otago.

The Regional Economic Impact Reports detail living costs, tuition fees, average spend per student, the number of jobs supported and economic value of international education.

“Not only do international students bring vibrancy and energy to Invercargill and Southland, they also bring significant economic benefits.” Invercargill MP Sarah Dowie says.

“In 2015/16, Southland hosted 1,470 international students. These students contributed $23.5 million to our local economy and supported 185 jobs.

“Our local economy has strengthened with the growth of international education in Invercargill. The Southern Institute of Technology (SIT) has been a leader in this space, providing not only quality education but excellent pastoral care of students.

“Students who speak highly of their SIT experience cement SIT’s reputation as an institution of choice and means that the city will benefit from international education into the future.”

International education is worth $4.28 billion to the New Zealand economy, and it’s vital for the regions to share in these benefits, Ms Dowie and Mr Barclay say.

“We know that SIT, Venture Southland, secondary and primary schools and other local agencies are doing some fantastic work to attract more international students to the South and this research will help them take better advantage of opportunities in international education,” Clutha-Southland MP Todd Barclay says.

“Financially, international students make a valuable contribution to both the education provider and the wider Southland community, but we are also seeing significant social and cultural benefits for students, businesses and communities.”

In November, the government announced a $440,000 funding package to promote international education and primary sector skill development in Southland.

The funding supports the Southland Regional Development Strategy Action Plan, which contains a number of initiatives aimed at attracting students and building the region’s skill base.

“The Action Plan seeks to grow the local population by 10,000 by 2025 and the goal for international education is not only to bring in an additional 3,500 students, but to increase the number of students and their families coming to, and remaining in, Southland,” Mr Barclay says.

The National Government is helping the international education market in Southland grow, Ms Dowie and Mr Barclay say.

Otago hosted 5,646 international students in 2015/16. These students contributed $92 million to the local economy and supported 775 jobs.

ENDS

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