University Post
University of Copenhagen
Independent of management


International students are good business for Denmark

New research proves international students are net contributors to the Danish economy. They contribute more income taxes than the expense for their education

Denmark received a net gain of DKK 156.5 million from the tax income of 6,000 international students who graduated betweem 1996-2008. This is after deducting expenses for their education, according to a study by Danish think-tank DEA.

While students are expensive to support during their education, they later contribute signifcantly to the state’s finances by paying taxes on their income. Students staying in Denmark after their graduation return what the state invested.

The DEA examined the impact of the international students who graduated on the Danish state. The report comes at a point of political debate across Europe about the impact of student mobility on public finances and study systems.

Master’s students a good investment

The report analysed official data on public expenditure on students, including money paid to universities, student subsidies and other social benefits. This was weighed against the income tax paid by graduates and students.

It found that a large group of Master’s graduates are remaining in Denmark long after graduating, which means they offset the state’s expenditure on them (and those that have left) by working and paying tax.

It also found that Master’s students are quick to find employment, which results in a low “break-even-point”. After working in Denmark for 13 months after graduating, most Master’s students have on average, paid more in taxes than has been spent on their education.

Bachelors students – more costs

However international graduates from a “medium-long” education or Bachelor do not, on average, remain in Denmark long enough to generate tax income which outweighs the state’s expenses on them.

The researchers at DEA attribute this to “the Danish labour market being less geared towards that type of education”.

However since Master’s students account for two-thirds of all international students, the study considered international students overall as a profitable investment for Denmark.

Read the full DEA report here in Danish.

Like us on Facebook for features, guides and tips on upcoming events. Follow us on Twitter for links to other Copenhagen academia news stories. Sign up for the University Post weekly newsletter here, and then follow the University Post on Instagram here.