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The impact of universities on the UK economy - 4th report

The economic importance of higher education has been widely recognised since the early 1990s, and its contribution to national and regional economic development has become an important influence on policymaking. Higher education is seen in the UK as being of key importance in the creation and transfer of knowledge to the economy through its teaching, research and other activities.

This report is an update of earlier studies looking at the impact of the higher education sector on the UK economy, and:

  • provides new evidence of the impact of universities as independent businesses
  • confirms the growing economic importance of the sector
  • demonstrates that the effectiveness of the higher education sector in generating impact is relatively high compared to other sectors of the economy
  • confirms the substantial employment effect of higher education activity
  • provides further evidence of the importance of international students to the sector and the wider economy

The report finds that through both direct and secondary effects, the higher education sector generated:

  • over £59 billion of output and over 668,500 full-time equivalent jobs throughout the UK economy in 2007–08
  • an overall contribution to GDP of £33.4 billion

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