The Economic Impact of Universities in 2014-15
This report for Universities UK investigates the contribution of the the higher education sector to the UK economy. It identified that in 2014-15, Universities directly employed 404,000 people, created a £21.5 billion gross value added contribution to UK GDP, and generated £5.3 billion in tax receipts.
The importance of universities to the economy goes far beyond this direct contribution, however. By spending money in the wider economy, students, visitors to them, and universities themselves, support economic activity in a wide range of industries. Adding these economic effects together means that in 2014-15, universities supported a total gross value added contribution of £52.9 billion to UK GDP―2.9 percent of the country's total economic output. They sustained 940,000 jobs, 3 percent of total UK employment, and generated £14.1 billion in tax receipts, 2.7 percent of UK Government tax revenue in the year.
For the first time in this series of reports, Oxford Economics has also explored the impact of universities on the productive capacity of the UK economy. Through higher education, universities provide students with skills and knowledge, which, in 2014-15, boosted the UK's human capital stock by an estimated £63 billion. Further, their £7.9 billion of research and development activities in the year were estimated to deliver a stream of private and social returns equivalent to £28.9 billion gross value added, or £1,000 in income per household.