Public universities fueling the economy

In 2017, NAU, UA and ASU generated approximately $11.1 billion that impacted Arizona’s economy. According to the Economic and Fiscal Impact of the Arizona Public University Enterprise. it is a report that reviews the relationship between public universities and the state’s economy. The analysis was conducted by Elliott D. Pollack & Co. and the Maguire Company.

John Arnold, the executive director of ABOR, shared his thoughts on the influence of the Arizona public university system.

“Through education, research and service, Arizona’s public universities are fueling the state’s economy,” Arnold said.

Ron Shoopman, the chair of the Board and chair of the Regents Executive Committee and Regents Award Selection Committee of ABOR, addressed the role of Arizona public universities. He noted the significance that NAU, ASU and UA have in preparing the next generation.

“Our three universities represent so much more for the state as we train the next generation that will discover and develop new technology, medicines, procedures and products,” Shoopman said.

According to an email from NAU spokeswoman Kimberly Ott, NAU President Rita Cheng spoke on the matter.

“I am pleased that this report validates what our public university system has known for years — the results of our efforts affect the quality of life, health, education and economic outcomes of the State of Arizona,” Cheng said in the email.

Arizona’s public universities offer a platform for education, but they also contribute to local communities and businesses.

According to the report, the three public Arizona universities generated an estimated $451.7 million in tax revenue for state, county, city and local governments.

Additionally, the report said that Arizona public universities provide infrastructure and support for local communities through their revenue and operation. They also help provide future workers for employers throughout the state, who can contribute to business expansion and profit.

The report goes on to say that research universities contribute to ensuring an adequate supply of qualified employees for the growth and expansion of the existing regional and state employers and for new and relocating businesses.

The three Arizona public universities also contributed meaningful research from graduate students and faculty.

Based on the economic report, research expenditures of the Arizona Public University Enterprise exceeded $2 billion. In fiscal year 2017, NAU developed $90.3 million in both direct and indirect research expenditures. ASU added $886.5 million in research output. UA contributed over $1 billion in research value.

Along with demonstrating effective economic influence, the three Arizona public universities also offer a widespread job market. The report states that the Arizona Public University Enterprise created 84,355 jobs in 2017.

This significant employment statistic is provided through a variety of factors. According to the report, 10,000 jobs were generated through university purchases, 20,000 were created through student spending, 4,000 were needed for construction and over 11,000 were supported through the spending of university faculty and staff. The job market within Arizona public universities is immense and complex.

Out-of-state visitors and sources also left a large impact on Arizona’s economy. This category includes out-of-state tuition, fees, grants and private gifts and contracts, among others.

Based on an ABOR news release, these sources contributed an estimated $3.8 billion in economic output. Nonresident students play a significant role in developing and strengthening Arizona’s economy, while also helping to diversify and advance it.

Another substantial economic influence within the state of Arizona is the military. For a sense of comparison, the ABOR news release juxtaposed the universities’ 2017 fiscal report to Arizona military operations in 2014. That year, Arizona’s principal military operations generated approximately $11.5 billion in economic output and 76,714 jobs. This is similar to the effect of the university system in 2017, which shows the extensive role the universities play in strengthening Arizona’s economy.

Cheng discussed the specific influence of NAU within the Flagstaff community.

“We create jobs, intellectual property, technology transfer, and business incubation, and we educate and develop the sophisticated, high-level workforce that meets the demands of today’s industry,” Cheng said in an email.

In the future, Arizona’s public universities will continue their growing influence and economic effect.