Business & Economy

Study: UVM generates $1.33 billion for the local economy

University of Vermont students on the green. Photo courtesy University Communications
The University of Vermont in Burlington has a $1.33 billion impact on the state, according to a new economic impact study.

The college paid $25,000 to Tripp Umbach, a consulting firm, to determine how much money the university puts into the local economy and how many jobs it helps create. The figures are from 2014.

Research universities across the country often commission these types of studies, according to the Association of American Universities, which says research universities “provide a broad array of public and institutional services” to communities.

The study shows the university directly employs 4,421 people, and indirectly creates or induces another 6,866 jobs. The university’s direct economic impact is $562.1 million, according to Tripp Umbach, plus $770.6 million in indirect and induced impacts.

Although the university is exempt from taxes, the study says that UVM generated about $78.2 million in tax revenues in 2014. That includes $10.9 million that workers in the 11,287 direct and indirect jobs pay on their incomes.

In 2014, UVM collected $263 million in tuition, $167.8 million in grants and contracts, $43.3 in state money, and $8.2 million in Federal Pell grants.

The figures include the UVM College of Medicine and the UVM College of Nursing and Health Sciences, but they do not include the UVM Medical Center, which is a separate 501(c)(3) organization.

Richard Galbraith, the vice president of research for UVM, said the school sought the study to see what effect the university is having on the state.

“We want to be a vital part of the economy and the society of Vermont,” Galbraith said.

Galbraith said he was struck by the university’s research impact. The study says that $128 million in research money yielded $157.9 million in economic impact, 809 jobs, and $5.3 million in tax revenue.

“The thing that struck me is the effect of the research that goes on at the university because that’s something that a lot of people think of the research as being sort of esoteric,” Galbraith said.

In reality, he said whenever the university gets money to research new drugs or medical devices, it is drawing down money from the federal government that would not otherwise fuel the Vermont economy.

Additionally, because the majority of students at UVM come from out of state, “the university acts somewhat as a magnet to try and entice people to come here and hopefully stay here and have good-paying jobs and enjoy their lives,” he said.

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Erin Mansfield

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  • Azur Moulaert

    “I would be grateful if you could provide documentation to support that claim, which I assume is based on modeling done for the various projects,” Hoffer wrote in an email to Moulton. He wondered if Vermont regulators had tried to verify the number of jobs created through __________.

  • Josh Kaufmann

    I’m always skeptical of studies praising the benefits of the organizations that funded the studies. It doesn’t sound as though the study included costs to the local economy — police and fire services, land exempted from property tax, tuition paid by local students (it’s unclear whether tuition is just listed in the story or was accounted for in the study), etc. A UVM-funded study about UVM’s benefit is more likely to target the gross impact than the net impact. The latter is what matters.