The British Academy welcomes report highlighting economic contribution of Higher Education sector in England

29 Sep 2021

The British Academy today welcomes a report commissioned by Universities UK that underlines the significant economic contributions made by the higher education sector to the UK.

“The Economic Contribution of the Higher Education Sector in England” draws on existing data and literature to estimate the direct and indirect impact the higher education sector in England makes to the UK economy. The report shows that:

  • The sector in England supports in excess of 815,000 jobs
  • English universities and the international students and visitors they attract generated in excess of £95 billion of gross output in the economy in 2018-19
  • In GDP terms, the sector grew by around a quarter between 2014-15 and 2018-19 to over £52 billion
  • More than £450 million of overseas visitor spending is attributable to international students studying at English universities

Professor Simon Swain, Vice President for Research at the British Academy, said:

“This timely report from Universities UK provides yet more evidence of the value of the higher education sector. By creating jobs in local communities, funding cutting-edge research and development, forging mutually beneficial links with the private sector and, of course, generating millions of highly skilled graduates every year, the higher education sector plays an essential role in the UK economy and in our society.

“It is therefore vital that the government does everything it can to maintain the health and global competitiveness of the sector. In practice, that means encouraging students to take up subjects from across the disciplinary spectrum, striving to achieve the target of investing 2.4% of GDP in research and development, and facilitating the smooth movement of academics and students from overseas.

“Doing so will help the government to execute its ‘levelling-up’ agenda while also helping to ensure that Britain remains global in its outlook and influence.”

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