Though universities receive some pounds 9bn annually in public funding for education and research, the higher education sector now generates business worth over pounds 43bn a year, according to the report.
In total, universities provide jobs either directly or indirectly for more than 3 per cent of the total workforce. In 1995-6, higher education had an estimated international balance of trade surplus of pounds 1.3bn, while the economy as a whole had a deficit of pounds 5.5bn.
Vice-chancellors hope the study, The Impact of Universities and Colleges on the UK Economy, will help counter impressions of higher education as a perpetually cash-hungry sector and demonstrate how universities provide value for money. Lucy Ward
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