October 12, 2001

National Study Shows State Universities Powerful Engines for Economic Growth

October 12, 2001  NR 19-01

State and land-grant universities like the University of Alaska provide major stimulus to their state and regional economies – generating jobs, attracting and helping create new high-tech businesses, providing a well-educated work-force, and increasing state tax revenues.

The average return on every $1 of state money invested in these universities is over $4, according to Shaping the Future – The Economic Impact of Public Universities, a study done by the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges (NASULGC). The new report lays out overall trends and provides institution-by-institution highlights of economic data illustrating the ways in which NASULGC institutions are powerful engines for economic growth.

The report is the third in a series of economic impact surveys conducted by NASULGC. The University of Alaska and other member institutions were surveyed in the summer and fall of 2000 to gather data concerning their impact on state and local economies. Eighty percent of U. S. states and territories are represented in the results.

Among the study’s key findings in Alaska:

  • For every state dollar spent on the University of Alaska system, an additional $4.11 in spending was generated in the state’s economy.
  • The university system employs 5,290 people, and its presence generates an additional 4,290 jobs in the state. The annual payroll is about $180 million.
  • Expenditures by the university system in fiscal 1999 for supplies, materials, equipment, acquisition, maintenance, and other institutional improvements, including spending on construction and renovation, totaled $225 million.
  • In fiscal 1999 employees of the university system spent about $104 million across the state; students spent almost $75 million; and visitors contributed another $3 million to the economy.
  • The university system received $68.5 million in competitive grants and contracts in fiscal 1999.
  • In the past five years, eight patents were received.
  • Seven in ten graduates remain in Alaska for a significant period of time after graduation.

“At a time when many states are dealing with tight budgets, this report shows the dramatic return that investment in public universities provides to state economies,” said NASULGC President C. Peter Magrath. “Our survey clearly demonstrates that investment in public universities is extraordinarily beneficial to states’ economic stability and growth.”

The complete report is available on the NASULGC website at http://www.nasulgc.org.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Bob Miller, 907-474-6311 NR 19-01