With university fees increasing and the majority of universities set to charge the full £9,000, what does this mean for city economies? What is the role of universities in these economies and is there more cities can do to make the most of this? And how might the rise in university fees affect cities around the country?
Much is made about the role of universities in city economies. But little is actually known about their impact. Using data from the Higher Education Statistics Authority (HESA) and the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), this short note looks at five facts about universities and economic development and raises five questions for potential further research. It shows that by far the biggest economic impact that a university has on its city economy is through its local employment and the spending of its students rather than the interaction that it has with the local business base.
This raises questions about the impact that the fee increases might have if it reduces the number of students at universities. And it raises questions about how universities and cities might work together for mutual economic benefit in the future. These are questions that we will seek to answer through further work over the course of 2011 and 2012.