YORK’s universities have helped in the generation of over £5bn in economic impact, according to a Universities UK report.

Published last week, the report calculated the total economic contribution of higher education institutions across Yorkshire and Humberside in 2011-12.

It also found that more than 62,000 jobs were generated by the region’s institutions.

Specific figures for the University of York and its associated Science Park found them responsible for £329m income gain in York. They also created 6,903 jobs – just over eight percent of all jobs in the York area.

Other statistics for York St John show that, in 2012-13, the university provided employment for more than 1,200 people, and its students spent nearly £19m locally.

The total boost to local income attributable to York St John was £55m.

International students have also been profitable for the region, spending an estimated £380m off-campus.

Universities UK’s findings are part of a nationwide study into the economic impact of higher education institutions.

The higher education sector generated over £73bn of output, or 2.8% of UK GDP, in 2011 – an increase on the 2.3% of 2007-08.

A total of 757,268 jobs were also generated by the sector.

Professor Sir Christopher Snowden, President of Universities UK, said: “Universities are making an increasingly significant contribution to the regional economy.

“We should not forget also the major contribution to the economy from producing skilled graduates and generating ground-breaking research.”

Sir Snowden also hailed the non-economic benefits of higher institutions, noting their social and cultural contributions to communities.