Universities in the West Midlands are contributing more than £4.5 billion to the area’s economy, according to a study from Universities UK.
The study, which looked at the impact of higher education on the economy in the nine regions of England, found West Midlands universities, including Wolverhampton and Staffordshire, generated revenue of £1.95bn in 2011-2012.
Through knock-on effects they also helped create an additional £2.6bn in industries across the country.
Professor Sir Christopher Snowden, president of Universities UK, said: “It is clear that universities are making an increasingly significant contribution to the regional economy, both in terms of contribution to GDP and creating jobs.
“Universities also attract significant investment from overseas.”
In Wolverhampton the university has 4,000 staff and 23,000 students.
They also bring in substantial income to the region by attracting international students who pay fees and spend money in the area.
The University of Wolverhampton welcomes students from around the world and has regional offices in China, Malaysia, India, Oman, Nigeria, Poland and Cyprus.
It has a branch campus in Mauritius and courses are also delivered with global partners in China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, India, Sri Lanka, Russia, France and Cyprus.
It is investing £45 million over the next two years to redevelop its campuses in Wolverhampton city centre. This includes a new £25 million Science block and a new £15 million University of Wolverhampton Business School building.
The study found that the region’s 12 universities attracted 36,140 students from outside the UK and 76,580 students from other parts of the UK in 2011-2012.
International revenue for the universities amounted to £394m which, together with the estimated off-campus expenditure of international students of £408m, represented a total of £802m of export earnings for the region.
They also provided 23,674 full-time equivalent jobs across a range of occupations and skill levels.
The study estimates the universities generated 55,355 jobs – equivalent to 2.18 per cent of people in employment in the region in 2012.
Sir Christopher said: “We should not forget also the major contribution to the economy from producing skilled graduates and generating ground-breaking research.
“Universities also produce significant non-economic benefits. They provide a social and cultural boost to communities through access to art, music, sports and other facilities.”