USW’s social and economic impact

Each year, USW makes a total economic contribution of £1.1 billion and supports 10,600 jobs in the UK. 

Our curriculum offering helps to change the lives of our students. 

We are a key asset for businesses and communities throughout the region. 

Our research helps to shape industries of the future and informs government policy on the public services which lie at the heart of the foundational economy.

These are the findings of a report compiled by independent consultancy Biggar Economics. The report examines data for USW, which includes the University’s two wholly owned subsidiaries, the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, and The College Merthyr Tydfil, from the 2019/20 academic year.

Animation student USW

The Economy

We contribute £1.1b to the UK economy
Each £1 of University income generates £5.30 to the wider economy

Training tomorrow's workforce

We produce 7,500 graduates each year
83% of graduates were in employment or voluntary work 15 months after graduating

A university for all

1 in 3 students from the lowest socio-economic areas of Wales that entered higher education, went to USW
USW delivered 126,149 days of CPD

Research excellence and innovation

Active graduate start-ups had an estimated turnover of £8.9 million
Our knowledge exchange generates £25million and 370 jobs in the UK
Carys Bowen Primary Teaching Student on placement at Ysgol Gymraeg Casnewydd

Other findings from the report include: 


  • The University supports 10,600 jobs across the UK. 
  • Every person employed by USW supports a further 3.2 jobs throughout the UK.
  • For every £1 that USW receives in income, £5.30 is generated to the wider economy.
  • Our knowledge exchange generates £25 million and 370 jobs in the UK. 
  • USW delivered 126,149 days of CPD.

A large proportion of USW's staff and students live and work in the Cardiff Capital Region. 


  • Students spending and working contributes £111 million GVA and 2,740 jobs in the Cardiff Capital Region.
  • 81% of USW employees are based in the Cardiff Capital Region, spending an estimated £27m.

Students in Cardiff City Centre
Graduation hats looking towards a screen

The University of South Wales broadens the pathway into higher education more than any other university in Wales.


  • Around one in three students from areas within the bottom two quintiles of the Welsh Index of Multiple Deprivation (WIMD) who entered higher education in 2018/19 went to USW. 
  • This represented almost half (49%) of USW’s undergraduate Welsh students and is significantly above average for higher education institutions in Wales (39%) and the UK (34%). 
  • It is equivalent to 28% of all students from areas in the bottom two quintiles of the WIMD who entered higher education in Wales in 2018/19.