This report investigates the economic contribution that universities made to the UK in 2014-15 through direct and indirect spending.

The report assesses the economic contributions using five measures, namely gross output, gross value added (GVA), jobs generated, tax receipts and export earnings. The impacts of the activities of universities in generating jobs and GVA for the UK are analysed, as well as the indirect effects of UK universities on sectors such as spending in local economies and supporting supply chains in the UK.

The publication also includes analysis of the economic contributions that international students made in the UK, and the assessment of the future economic benefits that research, innovation and human capital can bring to the UK.


  • UK universities and their students generate significant economic activity in the UK, equal to £95 billion gross output in 2014–15
  • Universities make a substantial contribution to UK GDP, equal to £52.9 billion GVA in 2014-15
  • UK universities supported almost 944,000 jobs in 2014-15
  • Salaries paid to staff employed by universities and companies in their supply chains totalled £17.1 billion and supported £31.2 billion of gross output in 2014–15
  • Induced spending, the economic activity created by university staff and their families added £16.4 billion in GVA to UK GDP, supported 273,000 jobs and £5.5 billion in tax contributions
  • International students’ off-campus spending and that of their visitors supported £12.3 billion in gross output, a £6.1 billion GVA contribution to GDP, 108,000 jobs, and £1.2 billion in tax receipts, including indirect and induced impacts
  • International students generated £13.1 billion in export earnings for the UK in 2014–15. Of this, £10.8 billion can be attributed to international students’ on- and off-campus spending
  • The future benefits of research and development conducted by universities in 2014–15 are currently worth £28.9 billion to the UK economy

To read more from Universities UK, visit their website.