UK universities’ contribution to the UK economy has increased substantially, new figures published today reveal.
According to Universities UK’s latest UK-wide study on the impact of the higher education sector on the UK economy, universities now generate £73 billion in output – up (24%) from £59 billion when the last study was published in 2009. This puts higher education ahead of many other UK sectors, including basic pharmaceuticals, air transport, advertising and market research, legal services and computer manufacturing.
At the time of conducting the study, the latest data available was for 2011-12 and therefore the estimates in the report relate to the year preceding the implementation of the new funding and fees system in England. Published alongside the report is an analysis of the impact of higher education on the economies of the nine regions of England. Separate reports looking specifically at the economic impact of universities in Wales and Scotland have been published previously.
The report found that in 2011–12:
· The UK higher education sector generated over £73 billion of output, through both direct and multiplier effects.
· Higher education contributed 2.8% of UK GDP in 2011 (up from 2.3% in 2007-2008) and generated 757,268 full-time-equivalent (FTE) jobs throughout the economy.
· The sector as a whole generated an estimated £10.7 billion of export earnings for the UK. This includes the estimated £4.9 billion of off-campus expenditure by all international, non-UK (EU and non-EU) students attending UK universities.
· Less than half of revenues received by UK universities were from public sources.
Professor Sir Christopher Snowden, President of Universities UK, said: “It is clear that universities are making an increasingly significant contribution to the UK economy, both in terms of contribution to GDP and creating jobs. The sector also attracts significant investment from overseas.
“While the study looked at only one aspect of economic impact, we should not forget also the major contribution to the wider economy from producing skilled graduates and generating ground-breaking research. Universities also produce significant non-economic benefits. They improve the life chances of individuals and also provide a social and cultural boost to communities through access to art, music, sports and other facilities.
“With the 2015 general election on the horizon, this report serves as a timely reminder to policymakers of universities’ growing impact on local communities, jobs and the wider economy.”
The full report is available on the UUK website