Report: Economic Impact of NU System Grows to $5.8 Billion | Nebraska today


The University of Nebraska’s teaching, research and outreach activities grow the state’s economy by $5.8 billion each year — $2.9 billion of which comes from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln — according to an independent new Analysis.

Presented at the Board of Regents meeting on February 11, the analysis of the NOW The system’s impact on Nebraska’s prosperity and quality of life was conducted by Tripp Umbach, a national consultant with expertise in economic impact studies. This is shown by the results of Tripp Umbach, which break down the impact of the university by campus, region and legislative district NOW The system generates $9 for every $1 the state invests — a significant 7 to 1 increase ROI the university founded in 2019.

That all four campuses also have an impact in addressing the challenges of COVID-19 is a testament to the important role that the university plays in maintaining the economic competitiveness and prosperity of the state, NOW said system president Ted Carter.

And as Nebraska recovers from the pandemic — and with over 50,000 job openings, it faces an urgent workforce challenge, including critical healthcare and STEM Areas — an affordable, accessible, competitive public university will continue to be a key part of the solution, Carter said.

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

“The numbers alone are telling and demonstrate the remarkable return we are making on Nebrascans’ investments. When we consider the cutting-edge research we conduct to improve lives around the world, the outreach we do in every corner of the state, and the transformative education we deliver to 52,000 students each year, it’s clear that the state of Nebraska cannot thrive without its public university.”

In addition to the $2.9 billion economic impact, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln added 23,448 jobs (15,894 direct jobs) statewide in 2021. The operations of the flagship university created 7,553 indirect and induced jobs in 2021.

“A return on investment of 9 to 1 is an impressive result for Nebraska taxpayers. From my chair, the University of Nebraska has been a responsible and proactive steward of its resources,” said Sen. John Stinner of Gering, chair of the Nebraska Legislature’s Appropriations Committee. “These results demonstrate that the University of Nebraska was able to convert Nebraska’s investments into an impact that extends to every corner of the state—rural and urban alike, from my district in western Nebraska to the far east.”

Sen. Lynne Walz of Fremont, chair of the Legislature’s Education Committee, said the finding from the report couldn’t be clearer.

“Investing in higher education pays big dividends for the state of Nebraska,” said Walz. “The University of Nebraska not only turns every dollar it receives into growth for the state, but it is also transforming the lives of our next generation of leaders in so many ways that we cannot fully quantify it.”

report highlights

On the most important findings of Tripp Umbach:

  • The university’s $5.8 billion annual impact — an increase from the $4.5 billion impact calculated in 2019 — means that the activities of NOW Its campus, faculty, staff and students, along with the resulting ripple effects in communities across the state, contribute nearly $16 million to Nebraska’s economy every day.

  • The University of Nebraska builds economically and socially vibrant communities in all 93 counties. Tripp Umbach broke down the university’s economic impact by both region and legislative district and found significant returns nationwide. For example, the university is growing the economy in western Nebraska by $280 million annually.

  • The University of Nebraska supports a highly skilled workforce for the state, supporting 1 in every 27 jobs in Nebraska. The 47,000+ jobs supported by the university don’t just include NOW employees, but rather Nebrascans who have jobs as a result of university activities.

  • University graduates generate significant economic activity for the country. Approximately 1 in 7 working-age Nebraska residents owns one NOW degrees and 11,000 new ones NOW Graduates enter the labor market every year. Graduate income and spending activities contribute $2.9 billion annually to the state’s economy and beyond NOW System impact of $5.8 billion.

  • University research is a powerful motor for economic growth and quality of life. Faculty innovations in fields such as agriculture, medicine and engineering represent the NOW System is one of the world’s leading institutions in acquiring patents, and the companies resulting from its research are expected to create hundreds of jobs in the years to come.

  • The university contributes to the welfare of the country. NOW Employees and students contribute $100 million annually in charitable giving and volunteer service, such as student-led service activities, free health screenings, academic lectures and more. NOWNebraska campuses also offer activities that increase Nebraska’s cultural understanding and build connections among citizens, including concerts, art exhibits, and sporting events.

    The full and detailed report by Tripp Umbach can be found here.


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