A report released Tuesday shows the economic impact of the University of Arkansas on state and local economies has grown from $725 million in 2009 to $1.2 billion in 2014, a 66 percent increase.
The analysis comes from a report prepared by researchers in the Center for Business and Economic Research at the Sam M. Walton College of Business. The center previously prepared an economic impact report for the university in 2009.
The study found that there are more than 68,622 University of Arkansas alumni living in Arkansas, up from 60,000 in 2009. Those alumni represent every county in the state and account for 2 percent of the state’s population. Together, Arkansas alumni are contributing $54.9 million in sales and use taxes to state and county governments and an additional $114.8 million in state income taxes.
“Perhaps the most impressive finding is the return-on-investment that Arkansas taxpayers get from the state’s investment,” said Kathy Deck, director of the Center for Business and Economic Research, and principal author of the study. “The state’s appropriation to the university in 2014 was $173.8 million. Arkansas is basically getting back almost $7 for every dollar the state legislature invests in the University of Arkansas.”
In Northwest Arkansas, the university’s economic impact is estimated at $932.3 million in 2014. That includes $907.2 million in recurring annual economic impact and $25 million in one-time construction impacts. The annual business operations of the university contribute $522.2 million to the NWA economy, while student spending contributes $307.4 million.
Visitors to Razorback athletic events, the U of A admissions office and students contributed $35.8 million in spending in 2014 and the economic impact generated by university-affiliated volunteers is $3.8 million.
The operations of tenants in the Arkansas Research and Technology Park add nearly $38 million to the regional economy.
In terms of sustainable economic growth, the study finds that the university, one of the largest employers in Northwest Arkansas in 2014, had a total payroll of $317.9 million.
The full report is available online economicimpact.uark.edu.