THE student population of Scotland's biggest city spend half a billion pounds in the city each year, according to new research.

Around 67,000 people –more than 11% of Glasgow's population – are enrolled in higher education in the city and the report shows students in full-time higher education each spend on average £6500 a year, with part-time students, many of whom also work, spending an average £11,000 a year.

London-based Jeremy Leach Research, commissioned by Alumno Developments, studied the impact of students on the city's economy based on data from Glasgow, Strathclyde and Caledonian universities, Glasgow School of Art and the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.

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The report says: "Although this proportion of students in the population is well below the levels for specialist university towns such at St Andrews, it is the highest level for any city with a population of over 500,000.

"There is evidence Glasgow is succeeding in retaining those who study in the city as graduates. Although only 19% of those who study in Glasgow come from the city itself, 42% of graduates settle there after they finish their studies.

"Maintaining and increasing these levels of retention of students is vital to the city's competitiveness.

"While Glasgow still struggles with high levels of deprivation and a large pool of residents with low levels of qualifications, it is now better able to balance this with higher than average proportions of residents and workers educated to degree level."

Glasgow Chamber of Commerce chief executive Stuart Patrick said higher education was vitally important to Glasgow's economy.

David Campbell, managing director of Alumno Developments, added: "We believe by having the necessary infrastructure in place to support this process, the city will continue to thrive and benefit for the long term and it will help establish Glasgow as an attractive destination both during and after university."