The University of Colorado system contributed $4.7 billion to the Colorado economy in 2007, including $3.7 billion in direct payroll, construction and technology expenditures, according to an economic impact report the university released in June.
The report, available online and in print, details the direct and indirect ways in which the university contributes to Colorado's economy through work force and business development, employment, tourism, demand for goods and services, technology transfer and health care, surpassing some of Colorado's other major economic drivers.
"This report articulates what I have known for quite some time: higher education is a sound investment for the state of Colorado," said CU President Bruce D. Benson. "Universities not only enrich the lives of students through education and preparation for an increasingly competitive global marketplace, but are engines that drive long-term, statewide economic development."
The University of Colorado system, the state's fourth-largest employer, continues to provide a good return on Colorado's investment, giving back $26.50 to the state economy for every $1 of unrestricted state general fund support it receives.
The university has accomplished these contributions despite dwindling higher education support over the past six years. Colorado is ranked 49th nationally for per-student state funding compared to peer institutions. Since 2002, the state's per-student funding has dropped by 19.3 percent, leaving higher education searching for new funding, including tuition increases.
High among the University of Colorado's core missions is academic research on all its campuses. Researchers working in the university system attracted some $637 million in research funding in fiscal year 2007-2008, exploring and innovating in a variety of fields such as medicine, aerospace, renewable energy development and biotechnology.
University of Colorado students contribute substantially to the state's economy as well. When students - and the visitors who come to Colorado to see them - spend money around the state, Colorado's tourism and the retail sectors benefit as well. Last year, University of Colorado students and their visitors generated $1 billion on meals, rent, entertainment, clothing and utilities.
The University of Colorado boasts a combined total of 55,000 students at campuses in Boulder, Colorado Springs and Denver, including the Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora. Among Colorado's four-year public universities, it confers 42 percent of all bachelor's degrees; 60 percent of all master's degrees; 57 percent of all doctorates; and 82 percent of all first-professional degrees.
Contributions by alumni do not end at graduation, however. Many University of Colorado graduates choose to remain in Colorado, supplying the state with civic, political and business leadership, a highly skilled, entrepreneurial work force and cutting-edge, start-up companies.
Technologies developed at the University of Colorado - from biotechnology to renewable energy solutions - have formed the basis of 44 new Colorado companies over the past five years. All but four still operate, and of those all but four are based in Colorado or have significant Colorado operations. Revenues from royalties based on sales of products protected by university patents, including legal settlements, was $113.5 million in fiscal year 2006-07. The University of Colorado is among the top 10 universities nationwide in the number of companies created.
In the health care arena, the University of Colorado is the only Colorado university that prepares physicians, dentists and pharmacists. UC Denver's Anschutz Medical Campus also trains physical therapists, medical technicians, dental hygienists and other medical professionals. It joins the Beth-El College of Nursing and Health Sciences at UCCS as a leader in the preparation of nurses. Last year, the university produced 137 medical doctors, 59 dentists, 157 pharmacists and 474 nurses.
For every dollar of state funding, the UC Denver School of Medicine generates more than $52 in clinical revenues, grants, contracts and other revenues. Last year, the school received $12 million in state funding and provided $26 million in uncompensated care for Coloradans.
Last year, university employees - about a third of them in the state classified system - contributed $34.5 million in Colorado payroll taxes. The university's three-campus, four-location system employs some 24,000 faculty, staff and students, and created additional jobs in the public and private sectors through demand for construction, goods and manufacturing.
To read more about the University of Colorado system and its 2007 economic impact report, go to http://www.cu.edu