Higher education


Covering all aspects of higher education, we undertake a wide range of analyses covering higher education fees and funding arrangements, economic and social impact analyses, differences in higher education funding systems across the United Kingdom and internationally, as well as the earnings and employment outcomes achieved by UK graduates.

Over the last decade, London Economics have been at the forefront of the analysis of higher education fees and funding, delivering work for individual higher education institutions, mission groups, and central government departments. We have also delivered a number of in-depth analyses assessing the economic, social and cultural impact of higher education institutions at a local, regional and national level. More recently, we have also analysed the impact of macroeconomic factors determining the flow of international students to the United Kingdom on behalf of think thanks and central government departments.

Research areas

Our expertise in higher education includes:

Fees and funding

We have developed a comprehensive model to understand both student eligibility and graduate outcomes associated with different student support options.

Economic and social impact analysis

We provide in-depth analyses measuring the impact of teaching and learning, research, educational exports, and the direct, indirect and induced effect associated with higher education institution expenditure at a local, regional and national level.

International student flows

To quantify the potential impact of Brexit on student numbers and HEI finances, we use sophisticated econometric approaches to examine the impact of key macroeconomic drivers on the flow of international students to the UK.

Returns to higher education qualifications

We assess the earnings and employment effects associated with the acquisition of higher education qualifications – by gender, study mode, level of qualification and subject of qualification.

For queries related to the above research areas, contact: Dr Gavan Conlon, +44 (0) 20 3701 7703, [email protected]

Case studies

Examples of our work include:

Assessing the economic and social impact of higher education institutions

Using a range of primary and secondary datasets, we assessed the economic impact of a number of higher education institutions’ teaching and learning and research activity, the contribution of international students, as well as the direct, indirect and induced effect of the institutions’ physical and digital footprints.

Understanding higher education fees and funding

Using a comprehensive model of student support eligibility, Exchequer resource costs and graduate repayment profiles, we have assessed numerous options relating to changes in higher education fees and funding across the United Kingdom.

Understanding the impact of COVID-19 on universities

We undertook a detailed assessment of the financial challenges faced by higher education institutions as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, across the entire UK higher education sector.

The impact of Brexit on higher education demand

We combined a range of data sets to understand the long run determinants of higher education demand in the United Kingdom. The analysis also assessed a number of possible post-Brexit scenarios on higher education institutions student enrolments and funding positions.