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UNC’s Economic Impact $329.2 Million Last Year

A study shows that the University of Northern Colorado economic impact to the region in 2015-16 totaled $329.2 million, supporting 5,291 jobs in the area.

The UNC commissioned report by Emsi, a leading provider of such studies in higher education, analyzed the effects of university spending on operations, research and construction in addition to student spending and alumni contributions in Weld and Larimer counties.

The return on investment analysis revealed that UNC generates 1.3 percent of the gross regional product  — larger than the region’s entire utilities industry — and brought more in tax revenue than it took. For every dollar provided by taxpayers, UNC returns $8.70 in revenue. As students earn more, as the study shows, they make higher tax payment as do their employers. 

Collectively, the public colleges and universities in northern Colorado (Aims, Colorado State, Front Range and UNC) contributed $2.3 billion and supported 38,359 jobs in Larimer and Weld Counties during 2015-16, according to a comprehensive study the schools initiated.


UNC report

Northern Colorado Public Colleges and Universities
(Aims, Colorado State, Front Range, UNC)
combined report


Among the report’s highlights:
  • UNC added $173.5 million in income to the region during the analysis year as a result of its day-to-day operations (This figure represents the university’s payroll, the multiplier effects generated by the spending of the university and its employees, and a downward adjustment to account for funding that the university received from state and local sources.) 
  • The $173.5 million in added income is equivalent to supporting 2,307 jobs. 
    Around 70 percent of students wouldn’t reside in the area if not for the university.
  • While attending UNC, students spent $94.3 million on items that include groceries, rent and transportation.
  • Student spending generated $42 million in added income for the region — the equivalent of supporting 654 jobs.
  • Past and present students generated $108.7 million in added income for the region — the equivalent of 2,255 jobs.
  • The average bachelor’s degree completer from UNC will see an increase in earnings of $22,000 each year compared to someone with a high school diploma or equivalent in Colorado. Over a working lifetime, this increase in earnings amounts to an undiscounted value of approximately $946,000 in higher earnings. 
  • For every $1 students invest in UNC in the form of out-of-pocket expenses and forgone time and money, they receive a cumulative of $3.10 in higher future wages. The average annual rate of return for students is 10.7 percent — compared to the 10-year average of 7.2 percent return in the U.S. stock market.
  • By the end of the FY 2015-16 students’ working careers, the state and local government will have collected a present value of $234.7 million in added taxes.