By Daniel Hunter

Working with nef consulting (new economics foundation) the National Union of Students (NUS) today (Wednesday) published ground breaking research, Student contributions to the UK economy, that for the first time, quantifies the immediate value of students to the UK economy (£80 billion).

The report proves that students are an asset to the economy and not the problem often portrayed. NUS today called upon all parties to gain greater understanding of the real and immediate economic benefits which students bring to their local, regional and national economy.

Demonstrating the value of students living within their communities, the research highlights that the University of Birmingham generates 2.2 per cent (£460 million) of the value added created in the city.

This represents 0.5 per cent of the West Midlands Gross. Students support almost 12,000 jobs in the area with over 3,000 of these from student spend alone.

Taking just one of London’s 30 universities the report also highlights that the University of West London generates £60.4 million of the local value added, contributing £87.6 million of regional GVA (Gross Value Added).

Students from this university alone support almost 2,000 local jobs, with 330 of these generated from student spend.

It is widely acknowledged that higher education students and graduates provide significant benefits to the economy in the long run. The new evidence presented in this report shows that the contribution of students to the economy is equally significant in the short-term.

The report highlights the dire economic implications that would result from a reduction in student enrolment in many areas across the country, and shows that this would be most severe in the most deprived areas.

“Locally, regionally, or nationally, students are instrumental in creating a stronger economy and a fairer, more prosperous society. It’s time that the simple value of students living within a community is recognised," NUS President Toni Pearce said.

“Every party, every MP, every councillor needs to realise the crucial benefit that student subsistence brings. We know a great deal about the wider benefits that investment in education brings — to both society and the individuals themselves.

“But this report demonstrates the very day to day benefits that students bring to local, regional and national economies and the enormous employment figures that student subsistence supports.”

Graham Randles, Managing Director, nef consulting, said: "The contribution made by students to both the national economy and the regions goes far beyond the long-run impacts of an educated workforce and the economic impact of the Higher Education Institutions where they study.

"Every pound spent by students on items such as food, clothing and books contributes to economic output and supports jobs, nationally and locally. As our report shows, the total impact is substantial.

"The more subtle message of our report is that the economic impact of students is especially important in those parts of the country where the arrival of a new wave of young people each year provides a stimulus to regional economies. This is particularly the case in the less prosperous regions of the country where students can play an irreplaceable role in supporting economic activity and jobs.

"We are very pleased to have been able to work with the NUS on this important new research."

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