A £150m European loan for the University of Ulster's new Belfast city centre campus is a vote of confidence in its future plans, it has been claimed.
The university has said the finance from the European Investment Bank (EIB), owned by European Union member states, will be used to support campus development costing £305m.
But the main recipient will be the UU's £250m project to relocate most of the Jordanstown campus to Belfast city centre by 2018 – though the university is also planning upgrades at the Jordanstown premises, as well as its campuses at Magee and Coleraine.
A spokesman said the terms of the loan were confidential.
In an official announcement yesterday, the university said that over 5,000 construction and other workers would be employed on the build and fit-out in Belfast.
Professor Richard Barnett, vice-chancellor of the university, said: "This commitment from the EIB is a major vote of confidence in the university, in our ambitious development plans and in the future of Northern Ireland."
The Belfast Telegraph revealed in October last year that the EIB would finance £150m of the total cost of the University of Ulster Belfast campus project. It will also receive £16m from the Department for Employment and Learning, while the finance minister has also recommended the Executive makes a £35m loan to the development. The university said it would raise the remainder through its own revenues.