The figures show a substantial growth from 2008-09 when the university’s economic impact was last measured. The value to the economy has risen more the £100m and the number of jobs its supports has grown by 1,000.
The research, commissioned by the university, was carried out by independent consultants specialising in the economic impact of higher education.
Professor Julian Crampton, the university’s Vice-Chancellor, said: “The findings confirm the university as one of the biggest employers in the region and highlight its importance to the local economy.
"In these economically challenging times it is crucial to show how important the University of Brighton is, locally, regionally and nationally.
“Student spending alone is significant and we are seeing a growing number of international students coming here, while the number of visitors attracted to the city because of the student population is also increasing. All this has a positive impact on local businesses and services.
“We have exciting plans for the future, including a £150m redevelopment of the former Preston Barracks site in Brighton and a £10 million student accommodation building in Hastings. As with all of our projects, we work closely with local authorities, businesses and local organisations. This ensures that our growth is compatible with the aims and needs of the communities and any growth in student numbers is more than compensated by the additional student residences we propose to build.”
Researchers studied the academic year 2012/2013 when the university attracted more than 21,334 students, 10,881 of them from the South East, 7,453 from other parts of the UK, and 3,000 of them from outside the UK.
University and student spending was strongest in its campus centres: The university’s and its students’ expenditures generated £27m of output and more than 280 full-time equivalent jobs in Hastings, nearly 1 per cent of all jobs in Hastings; £96m and 1,060 jobs in Eastbourne or 2.8 per cent of jobs; and in Brighton and Hove they generated £483m of output and more than 4,900 jobs, equivalent to nearly 4 per cent of all employees.
Overall, the university and students’ expenditure generated 7,085 jobs and £698m of output in the South East region. Besides direct expenditure for goods and services the university’s activities create a knock-on effect on the economy, with suppliers making purchases to supply the university, and employees spending their salaries on housing and living expenditure.
The independent consultants calculated that every £1m of university revenue generated a secondary output of £1.15m in the region and a further £0.18m in the rest of the UK.
Nearly half of jobs generated were direct university positions, with 46 per cent in the region and 5 per cent in the rest of the UK. Academics including lecturers and researchers, accounted for the largest proportion of university jobs, but there was a wide variety of other posts including administrators, skilled trades’ workers, and managers. Indirect jobs supported were mainly in manufacturing, wholesale, retail business, hotels and construction.
The consultants concluded: “The study shows the university to be of significant economic importance, bringing immediate benefits to its host communities in Brighton and Hove, Eastbourne and in Hastings, as well as to the South East region more generally in terms of output generated, jobs created and its contribution to regional gross value added.”