England’s Universities Contribute £95 Billion to the Economy, Report Finds

Universities in England, international students, and visitors have contributed about £95 billion to the economy and also supported 815,000 jobs during 2018/19, a new report by Frontier Economics estimating the contribution of the higher education sector in the UK, commissioned by Universities UK, has revealed.

According to a media release issued by the Universities UK, higher education supports this number of jobs through purchases of services and other sectors’ goods as well as employee spending, Erudera.com reports.

“Universities also attract substantial numbers of international students, and visitor spending associated with international students runs in the hundreds of millions,” the press release reads.

A report by the Universities UK has predicted 191,000 nurses, 84,000 medical specialists, and 188,000 teachers will train at universities across the United Kingdom during the next five years.

The media release further states that universities have made a positive impact in all the region, starting from the jobs that institutions support in North East (32,000), South West (85,000), to the overall contribution in the West Midlands (£8.6 billion) and to the East of England (£9.4 billion).

When submitting the research to the government’s Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR), UK Universities will recommend the following:

  • Maintain available spend per student in order to make sure that education quality is not compromised, at the same time to make sure that support for disadvantaged groups is also maintained.
  • Maintain the UK’s position in global research, recommitting to spending 2.4 percent of the GDP on research and development along with the commitment to £22 billion in public investment in research and development by 2024/25. 
  • Support a wider group of people by initiating new initiatives in order to benefit from higher education.
  • Provide funding for innovative projects which will contribute to the sector’s transformation.

Following the report’s findings, the President of Universities UK and Vice-Chancellor of UWE Bristol, Steve West, said the economic and cultural contribution of universities in the UK is significant, adding that universities can help in accelerating the UK’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.  

“Now is the time for government to capitalise on the strength of our world-class universities, working with us to ensure universities have the right funding environment to drive economic growth, create new jobs and improve opportunities for people of all ages and backgrounds,” West added.

With the UK being very popular among international students, the country’s universities enroll significant numbers of students from across the world every year, attracting also visits from their friends and family members, leading to more spending in the country.

According to the most recent data, around 400,000 international students are enrolled at universities in England, who spend amounts of money on accommodation, tuition, and subsistence.

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