CASPER, Wyo. — The University of Wyoming spurs about $130 million in economic activity and creates more than 2,200 jobs annually, according to a new report from the university's Office of Research and Economic Development.
Between research funding, business services, out-of-state tuition and other student expenditures, the university's economic effect is powerful, said Bill Gern, UW’s vice president for research and economic development.
"I think it is up to the university to really try to show the citizens of the state where we are and how we are addressing their needs," Gern said.
Most universities regularly conduct economic impact studies, said Anne Alexander, an economist and associate dean and director of UW International Programs. Alexander co-authored the report with Roger Coupal, head of the Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics at UW.
This is UW's first such study, she said.
"We can say we're making all these great things as much as we want, but until we can show the effects of it, then those are just words," Alexander said.
The report studied the revenue that would not have come to Wyoming without the university.
Among the findings in the report:
Non-resident student spending generates more than $40 million annually and creates nearly 1,000 jobs.
Major UW athletic events spurred about $3.3 million in revenue in the 2012-13 school year.
UW's Small Business Development Center created more than $10 million in capital, created or retained about 1,200 jobs and worked with 1,500 Wyoming clients.
Since the Small Business Development Center began 16 years ago, they have served over 37,000 clients, created nearly $185 million in capital impact, and created or retained nearly 8,200 Wyoming jobs.
The numbers are conservative estimates, Gern said.
They make a good case to the state Legislature that UW provides a good return on investment, Alexander said.
"We sell services, really," said Coupal, one of the report's authors. "Not cows or coal or manufactured goods. We sell research in the region to small farms, to government. That research is then used by others to generate other marketable products."
Altogether, that research helped generate more than $78 million in additional business for Wyoming companies, the report said.
UW is planning another similar economic impact study starting this summer to be released late fall, Alexander said.