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University of Arizona's multibillion-dollar economic impact

Posted at 6:59 AM, Aug 27, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-27 09:59:20-04

TUCSON, Ariz. — A local institution with a multibillion-dollar impact. The University of Arizona is reportedly responsible for bringing in $11.1 billion into the state. The board of regents recently released a study showcasing the university's economic impact.

"Its kind of hard to imagine Tucson without the university. You know, the whole character of the place would be much different if there wasn't a big dynamic university here in the middle of it," said Stanley Reynolds, an Eller Professor of Economics and Eller College Vice Dean for Faculty and Research.

UA is a big player in adding to the bottom line of Arizona's economy. The study suggests the university supported an estimate of 84,000 jobs and generated around $11.1 billion for the 2017-2018 fiscal year.

"The University of Arizona has roughly a $2.1 billion per year budget, overall, everything. And one of the bottom line results of this economic impact study was that, that translates to a bigger effect in the state and in the community on the order of this $11.1 billion dollar affect," said Reynolds.

The researchers, from Phoenix-based economic consulting companies, broke down UA's economic impact into four categories: research, student, faculty, and staff spending, visitor spending and construction.

Research spending was estimated at $622.2 million, which the report says ranked it 21st in research spending among all public universities in the United States.

"There's some additional value, that I like to think of as the intrinsic value of the research. I mean, they're doing something important enough and significant enough that funders want to support it," said Reynolds.

Student, faculty and staff spending, when combined, generated a total close to $1.5 billion in economic output. The blend was reported to support more than 9,000 jobs.

"The university provides kind of a focal point for a lot of activities. You know, the contribution of the university to the community, I think it goes way beyond the numbers. There's a lot of synergy between the university and economic development and the growth of the community," said Reynolds.

Visitor spending was estimated at pumping $60.5 million into the economy through the many campus-hosted events throughout the year.

And lastly, the study concluded that construction supported more than 1,500 jobs; an economic impact of $221.8 million.