NU system economic impact grows to $5.8 billion

by the University of Nebraska System | February 15, 2022

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The teaching, research and outreach activities of the University of Nebraska grow the state’s economy by $5.8 billion every year, according to an independent new analysis of the NU System’s significant and far-reaching impact on Nebraska’s prosperity and quality of life.

UNMC accounts for $1.5 billion of that impact – although that figure does not reflect the substantial economic growth generated by UNMC’s clinical partner Nebraska Medicine and its affiliates.

The economic analysis, unveiled Friday to the Board of Regents, was conducted by Tripp Umbach, a national consultant with expertise in economic impact studies. Tripp Umbach’s findings, which detail the university’s impact by campus, region and legislative district, show that the NU System generates $9 for every $1 the state invests – a significant increase from the 7-to-1 ROI the university created in 2019.

That all four campuses grew their impact even while managing the challenges of COVID-19 is evidence of the vital role the university plays in maintaining the economic competitiveness and well-being of the state, NU System President Ted Carter said.

“This new analysis is the latest confirmation that the University of Nebraska is one of the largest drivers of economic and individual growth in our state,” he said.

Among Tripp Umbach’s key findings:

  • The university’s $5.8 billion annual impact – an increase from the $4.5 billion impact calculated in 2019 – means that the activities of NU campuses, faculty, staff and students, along with the resulting ripple effects in communities across the state, add almost $16 million to Nebraska’s economy every day.
  • The University of Nebraska builds economically and socially vibrant communities in all 93 counties.
  • The University of Nebraska sustains a highly skilled workforce for the state, supporting 1 of every 27 jobs in Nebraska.
  • University research is a powerful driver of economic growth and quality of life. Faculty innovations in areas like agriculture, medicine and engineering place the NU System among the world’s top-ranked institutions in earning patents, and the companies spun off from their research are projected to create hundreds of jobs in the years ahead.
  • The university contributes to the well-being of the state. NU employees and students annually contribute $100 million in charitable donations and volunteer services, like student-led service activities, free health screenings, scholarly lectures and more.

Annual economic impacts include:

  • University of Nebraska-Lincoln: $2.9 billion.
  • University of Nebraska Medical Center: $1.5 billion, not including clinical partners.
  • University of Nebraska at Omaha: $898 million.
  • University of Nebraska at Kearney: $365 million.