The University of the West of Scotland has a £250 million plan to revamp all of its campuses to attract more students and boost its international reputation.
It could transform the former mill town, famous for creating the Paisley pattern and home town to actor David Tennant and former banker Fred Goodwin, into a student-heavy campus town.
The latest step in the plan is a £13.6m student residence complex to be built in the heart of the town on the site of a former car park.
UWS changed its name from Paisley University last year, making it the newest higher education name in Scotland.
Work on the 340-bedroom complex begins in March and includes en-suite bathrooms, communal living and kitchen spaces, management suites, lounges and laundry facilities.
A further £4.6m project will refurbish 160 University-owned flats at George Street and Lady Lane in the town.
It’s hoped the new facilities will help attract increasing numbers of students to the town for entry in 2012.
The overall project also includes a new £70m campus at Ayr and will see classroom and IT upgrades across all four campuses to attract quality applicants.
Professor Seamus McDaid, university principal, said: “The development is crucial to our ambitions to attract and retain more students and is part of the wider investment programme to improve the quality of our estate across all four campuses.
“It will increase the enormous contribution that the university makes to the local economy, greatly enhancing the centre of Paisley and bringing long-term benefits to the town.”
Renfrewshire’s Provost Celia Lawson said the town held a reception each year to welcome overseas students.
A report by Spanish bank, Santander, last week found overseas students contribute £15m annually to local economies near universities, outwith fees.